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Author Topic: Unseasonal breeder...  (Read 945 times)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Unseasonal breeder...
« on: July 31, 2020, 11:59:51 am »
I have a Shetland x (Icelandic x Dutch Texel) ewe, who I would have loved to breed but had not felt I should as she developed a hernia after her first shearing, three years ago.

So she has been a bit of a pet in the flock and given no work apart from being an aunty to the ewe hoggs in autumn and winter, when the tups are out with the breeders, and producing one amazing double-coated multi-coloured fleece for me each year.

I put the tups back with the non-breeders in March.  She and the Shetland tup behaved as though the breeding season wasn't over, so I had made a note to be checking her, just in case, through July.

Sure enough, by two weeks ago it was looking very likely that the bit of udder development wasn't just fat from being on good grass this year...

And today she produced two gorgeous healthy lambs.  One of them is a really lovely little ewe lamb, so I am delighted as I thought I had lost the opportunity to keep going with the Icelandic genes in my flock.  And Pugling's hernia is, thankfully, only slightly obvious, so I certainly shan't breed her again but it looks as though we have got away with it this once.

I thought I should post because every so often we talk about which breeds are seasonal and which not, and from this experience I would have to say that it would seem you can't rely on an Icelandic to keep it in their pants!! lol

(And Nigel the registered Shetland is Ever Ready...  He is always checking that there is no work to do, and clearly has little swimmers at the ready at all times... ::))

« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 12:01:48 pm by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2020, 12:16:21 pm »
A lovely surprise and hopefully a nice fleece to come.

I would not trust my Zwartbles at any time of year, two weeks ago I had a shearling cruising and chatting looking for a boyfriend.  The teaser is due to go into them on 16th August for two weeks so the season is not long away now.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2020, 12:29:28 pm »
Interesting the ewe has horns.
I had an email today from someone who had a surprise Heb lamb yesterday - white lamb so probably a cross.  I've asked if she knows the parentage
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2020, 12:37:25 pm »
Interesting the ewe has horns.


The three Icelandics we bought from the same flock (Windy Gowl, not far from you actually) were all horned. 

(I had to edit this 'cos I had forgotten that Pug was horned!  But when I went to sort out a pic, there she was, horned!  :coat:  Pug is the brown one in the middle.)

The Dutch Texel x daughter, Pugling's mum, was white, and definitely polled.

« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 12:48:55 pm by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2020, 12:42:48 pm »
A lovely surprise and hopefully a nice fleece to come.

I would not trust my Zwartbles at any time of year, two weeks ago I had a shearling cruising and chatting looking for a boyfriend.  The teaser is due to go into them on 16th August for two weeks so the season is not long away now.

Good to know...  we still have one remaining Zwarts here.  She's quite thin this year, she can't 'do' as well on the same grass as the rest of the flock.  It's not ideal, really, having one dairy type will all the other "good do-ers".  She only has Shetland x lambs to rear this time.  2 daughters so I am hoping one at least will be a keeper and will fulfil the need of some here to feel that the original Z genes are carrying on.  (They had only bought Gwenneth as a gimmer shearling the year I arrived, so she's not any more "original" than all the sheep I brought with me, really, but whatevs.   ::)). 

Anyway, thanks for the nudge.  The lads are on their own at the mo, got separated a few days ago, so I think I won't put Nigel the Ever Ready with his Golden Balls back with any females now.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2020, 11:31:48 am »
Pugling has turned out to be the most perfect little mother, and her ewe lamb is also just perfect, so far.  So I have told the wee one to please, please not blot her copybook so I can keep her as a breeder...  :fc:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2020, 11:45:03 am »
And, it turns out that Wensleydales are not seasonal breeders either...

Quincy had been retired as one half of her udder had hardened, and although she had 3 singles, her 4th crop was twins.  I was very sad about having to retire her; she is assured a place in the "fleece flock" with that awesome fleece, but I would, of course, have liked more offspring to keep those fleece genes going.  And I was even more sad about it when her son Skyhawk (Romney x) proved infertile this time around, so no more Quincy granddaughters and -sons either.  It left Hannah, Skyhawk's retained daughter from last year, the only breeding female with Quincy genes.  (Quincy has only ever had sons.)

Quincy's last sons are still here, and one is currently earmarked for the fleece flock, but in truth she has had Shetland x lambs with better fleeces in the past.  I was surprised these didn't have nicer fleeces; their father Wotsit (Nigel's son) had a simply gorgeous fleece.  But, as these were the last Quincy offspring I was going to get, I made my choice of the better sheep of the two (Thingummyjig, pic attached) to become Mr Pie's understudy as Senior Fleece Wether.

The Universe is smiling on me this year, with the aptly named Nigel Golden Balls! 

I had been keeping an eye on the other unbred ewes after Pugling popped, and this last week had thought that Quincy's big belly and swelling udder were quite possibly not attributable purely to the plentiful grass...

And sure enough, this morning we have a dark tup lamb.  All well, will add a pic once I've got a nice one.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2020, 11:54:21 am by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2020, 11:52:16 am »
And I've checked my notes to work out who else we might expect to produce over the next months...

The 4 gimmer shearlings, anytime up until around 8th Oct... we are only keeping one for a breeder (Hannah, Quincy's granddaughter) but of course now any of the 4 might be in lamb so I can't send any of them off until mid-Oct, just in case.  There are 2 Manx descendants, one with Romney and Wensleydale genes as well as Shetland and Manx and the other with only Manx and Shetland in the mix; one mainly Shetland with a bit of BFL (1/8), and the 4th is Hannah : 1/4 Wensleydale, 1/4 Romney, 3/8 Shetland, 1/8 BFL.

The 3 experienced ewes that Skyhawk failed to impregnate are Dot Cotton (pure Manx), Alice and Lessa (both Shetland x BFL.)  Nigel did actually tup DC when they were recombined after I was sure these 3 were empty, so that would be 8th Oct...

« Last Edit: August 21, 2020, 11:54:48 am by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2020, 12:17:44 pm »

The Universe is smiling on me this year, with the aptly named Nigel Golden Balls! 

I had been keeping an eye on the other unbred ewes after Pugling popped, and this last week had thought that Quincy's big belly and swelling udder were quite possibly not attributable purely to the plentiful grass...

And sure enough, this morning we have a dark tup lamb.  All well, will add a pic once I've got a nice one.

Here's a pic
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

roddycm

  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2020, 05:22:28 pm »

The Universe is smiling on me this year, with the aptly named Nigel Golden Balls! 

I had been keeping an eye on the other unbred ewes after Pugling popped, and this last week had thought that Quincy's big belly and swelling udder were quite possibly not attributable purely to the plentiful grass...

And sure enough, this morning we have a dark tup lamb.  All well, will add a pic once I've got a nice one.

Here's a pic

Love the detailed story! Very entertianing! Smashing lamb too!  :excited:

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2020, 09:26:27 am »
Sally, Do you think your new-found fecundity might be something to do with your new, more Southerly location?  Warmer weather, better grass, different day-lengths?  ???
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2020, 03:46:13 pm »
Sally, Do you think your new-found fecundity might be something to do with your new, more Southerly location?  Warmer weather, better grass, different day-lengths?  ???

I would have thought if anything it might be a reflection on the poor early spring weather we often get here in North Cornwall!  lol.  In that most sheep start cycling when the weather turns autumnal; we had one year in Cumbria when an "Indian summer" (lovely warm weather well into October) delayed our next year's lambing by several weeks!   (And that was definitely the ewes; it was a Charolais tup we used on the "earlies" that time, and they will definitely happily work from late summer onwards.)

Nigel of the Ever-Ready Golden Balls is a southern-born-and-bred Shetland, though, so maybe the breed is less seasonal in these parts. 

In Pugling's case (the part-Icelandic), she has been deprived of opportunity to lamb hitherto, and is 4 years old, so I had just put it down to "nature finding a way" (cue the theme to Jurassic Park, lol.)  And I am glad for her that it did, because she is an absolutely super little mum, and it's nice to see her discover all that.

Quincy (the Wensleydale), however, has had 4 crops and has always been a rather laid back mother, with a parenting style that owes much to her stertorous bellow and the other aunties in the flock bringing her errant baby/ies back to her if they have strayed out of earshot!  So it is a surprise that she has gone out on a limb to have a lamb, having been offered the chance to do nothing but eat and to grow her magnificent fleece for me.  Frankly, although she is looking after the wee one properly, she does not look delighted with the situation : very much the demeanour of some human mothers of two or three or more already who find out that that drunken, condom-less night has cost them another 18-year sentence...  :D

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2020, 04:13:15 pm »
And for the last few weeks we have known that the Manx had held, too...

Again, the Universe smiled; Dot Cotton is a fantastic breeder of breeders, and has produced one lovely little gulmoget ewe lamb.  Bold as brass, like her Uncle Wotsit, if she doesn't cause too much trouble she could well find her way into the breeding flock in time. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Unseasonal breeder...
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2020, 08:06:28 am »

just a thought ..... not unseasonal breeders   but   due to un seasonal weather ?

certainly noticed a difference here in south Wales in just 5 years .... we seem to have lost the 4 seasons totally!
Linda

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"Unseasonal" shearing / fleeces / spinning / welfare

Started by SallyintNorth

Replies: 33
Views: 9678
Last post December 04, 2012, 04:41:40 am
by SallyintNorth

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