Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Hurrier I Go...

...The Behinder I Get.

I don't remember where I read that. It sure fits my days. Days that go faster and faster, speeding toward? I though "Retirement" might slow down the speed. Nope.

Round 1 of lambing at EverRanch is complete. All of the AI Ladies that "took" have lambed, 10 of them. We had lambs born every day for a week, except Wednesday. I was up to date on photos, then more came and I need to go take more. Posted below are the ones that were "up to date" on Wednesday... or was it Thursday? ;-)

Here is the "Barn Group". The 5 Finns had 12 lambs, one set of quads, one set of triplets, two of twins and a single. Two were dead when we found them :-(

These are all half Gotland, half Finnsheep.

Freckles gave us a flashy pair of twins this year, as she did last year. This year's twins are a ram and a ewe. Spatz is on the right.

Spatz, below, shows off his named "part". Does anyone know what the singular of spatz is? Or maybe a spat and a quarter?

Spatz has too much "chrome" (as Juliann would say) to be a good breeding prospect for the Gotland breeding up program, so he'll be wethered and for sale to a spinner's flock. Freckles produced very nice, soft and silky fleece on both of her lambs last year and we see the same starting on this year's lambs.

The Barn lambs have a creep in the corner for protection. We have known lamb bashers in this group of ewes. Yesterday, even without Hortense in the group - the worst lamb basher - Niblet's boy was hobbling around.

The Brain's twins (down from quads) figured it out pretty quickly. The rest explore it now and then. Just wait until you guys get creep feed in there! The white lamb is a ewe, the black guy is ... well... a guy. He's just a bit of a thing, with a personality that is many times larger! He's been christened Tom Thumb.

Speaking of The Brain. Her udder has gone down to almost normal proportions. The lambs readily nurse on the smaller side. I milked the other side and offered a bottle to her lambs. Tom Thumb took it for several days, then started getting enough from mom and started refusing the bottle. Friday was the last day I milked her. I put by a few cups and some colostrum for just in case. :-) The left side is still a bit enlarged in this photo. It's gone down more since then.

The Hilton is now busy with lambs. Bossie was the first to lamb, with a single black/grey ram lamb - 75% Gotland! Snowflake was next with twins - rams. One white and one very ghostly grey katmoget. If I hadn't seen this photo on the Tongue River Icelandic Sheep color genetics site, I might not have recognized his pattern. Snowflake's sire was grey katmoget, so I knew there was the possibility she'd carry the pattern. It helps assure her place in our flock. :-)

"Casper" has very light phaeomelanin on his head which adds to the ghostly appearance. Below he's contrasted with his white brother from the rear, as they're busily competing over the same teat.

There's no doubt about the sex of these two! Casper is on the short list of possible cleanup rams here. Katmoget, like White, is one of the A locus alleles whose phenotype enables us to know their genotype when bred to a homozygous grey Gotland ram. I know - lots of genetic terms. If you know what I'm talking about, you'll understand our "white" filtering program where we use mostly white foundation stock to get homozygous grey animals in the second AI generation. (We get white, too, of course, and those are used for the next generation until we get enough grey ones. :-)

Katmoget works as a filter, too. In the North American Gotland breeding up gene pool, there are almost all of the color and marking genes known to sheep! The A locus filters ensure we're avoiding dominant black, recessive solids, and "ordinary" grey. Recessive brown can still slip through. I wonder what a musket Gotland would look like????

I can at least update you blog readers with our total lamb count:

The Brain - 1 black/grey ram; 1 white ewe - lost 2 ram lambs

Tucker - 2 black/grey rams; 1 black/grey ewe

Niblet - 1 black/grey? ram; 1 white ewe

Freckles - 1 black/grey ram; 1 black/grey ewe

Pinky - 1 white ewe

Hortense - 1 black ram

Bossie - 1 black/grey ram

Snowflake - 1 white ram, 1 Ag grey katmoget ram

Asa - 2 black/grey rams

Bunnie - 1 black/grey ram - gorgeous, gorgeous!

15 - 50% Gotlands, 10 rams, 5 ewes

2 - 75% Gotlands, both rams

I'd better head out to check on things.

- Franna

1 comment:

shepherdchik said...

Well Franna: I don't retire for another 25 years, but I was sort of looking forward to it and thinking it would be 'slower'. Your retirement pace is a bit of a dissapointment (only in the 'slowness' category though). Congrats on the great lambs