Sunday, December 06, 2009

Home from the Shepherd's Holiday

Whew! I spent Friday and Saturday at the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers annual Shepherd's Holiday. It was held in Alexandria, MN.  This was the first time I've attended the MLWP's annual event and I was pleasantly surprised at what a fun weekend it was. Terri Drimel and I went together (we volunteered to serve on the MLWP Board and were on the ballot - and yes, we got voted in).  Gail VonBargen rode up with a nice shepherd couple who live near her.  It was fun to talk sheep with them and meet new friends. 
The classes were very interesting. I learned new things about terminal sire selection, Scrapie transmission, Nor98, and wool characteristics/fiber production.

The food was great, especially the Greek Marinade Lamb Shanks served at the banquet -- absolutely delicious!  The live auction was fun on Friday night and at the luncheon Saturday we got to see the Make it with Wool entries. That was amazing -- from the youngest little seamstress to the oldest -- lots of really nice wool garments!

Another pleasant surprise came when Greyson's fleece sample (taken at the last rib, mid-side) came in 3rd in the finest fleece contest.  First place went to a merino who microned at 16.8, second place was 22.3 (not sure of the breed) and Greyson had an AFD of 22.7  (SD of 5.1, and CV of 22.6)..  I just wanted to find out a ball park figure on his numbers since he's the only Shetland ram I'm using for breeding this fall.

The conference ended Saturday afternoon with a farm tour of a commercial operation who had 1,000 ewes.  They lamb year round. Oh my gosh, they had a lot of sheep there! Seeing the facilities and hearing about the ewe and lamb rations, feeding systems, etc. was really interesting.  In one barn they were ultrasounding and sorting ewes from three different breeding groups. All of us got to take a good look at the lambs in utero. That was really cool.  Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera and do the roving reporter thing, but Terri did and she has posted photos on her Roundabout Acres blog.

Next on my agenda is to break up my breeding groups. It will be nice to have only two pens of sheep again, I just hope reuniting the rams goes well. Poor little Greyson is definitely the underdog, being only about 1/3 of the size of the other rams.

6 comments:

  1. Congrats on the outstanding fleece your homebred ramling has! Sounds like your ewes were in good "hooves" this breeding season!

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  2. Thanks Michelle, I really like Greyson. If he holds that beautiful blue grey color into adulthood and passes that quality along to his Ag offspring I will be very pleased. I'm still hoping to get a moorit gulmoget lamb someday, but chances of that are pretty slim this year. Greyson's just got one gulmoget ewe in his breeding group, and she MAY be homozygous black. Keeping my fingers crossed that she's not though. :-)

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  3. Nice post Becky. It was a fun weekend, wasn't it? Congrats again on Grayson's fleece!

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  4. Thanks Terri, I'm so glad you took photos while we were at the farm and posted them on your blog.
    My BFL rams are back together again. In contrast to Shetland rams, it was not a problem reuniting them. They seem to be relaxed and happy to be back in their old bachelor pad again. I could see that Greyson still had some work to do with Hattie, so I left his group together. They've only been together 14 days so far.

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  5. Becky sorry I'm late on this, I just wanted to congratulate you on Greyson's wonderful test! Sounds like a flock sire to be proud of, I'll be eagerly awaiting to see what you get by him next spring!

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  6. Thanks Juliann! Hopefully he's getting the job with all four of his ewes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for twins from each of them.

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