Tuesday, July 31, 2012


           12" plus length on this fleece sample that was pulled from a bag of "Shetland" wool.
          (I won't say where this came from, as I have no desire to attack people or their sheep) 
This sample is approx. 8" plus in staple length and the shortest sample among 12 bags of fleece that is supposed to be Shetland fleece.  
Excessive length......I found both these samples to be very coarse and not breed typical at all.  I am going to send them in for micron testing, just so I have a number to attach to this for my own fleece sampler book. I'm not even sure how you could spin these fleeces, , they have a lovely color and they would look nice in a braided rug.  These overly coarse and long fleeces are no more breed typical than a merino type fleece on a Shetland sheep....my point being that extremes on either end of the limits is changing the breed. 
Excessive weight......The other excess that I am finding hard to understand is the new weight limits for Rams and Ewes that have been changed in the NASSA judges packet.  Where did those numbers come from?  Where is the historical data that supports this trend upwards in weights?  I'm not trying to be sarcastic or mean, I honestly want to know where those number originated. 
Old ranges were: Rams 90-125# and Ewes 70-100#'s....new limits allow the rams to be 150# and Ewes 115#....  that seems to be changing the breed to satisfy the livestock judges in the show ring.  I don't know why it was changed or where the historical data is that supports such a large increase in size limits.   Over the last couple years there's been a lot of discussion and disagreement about the correct type of Shetland fleece. I actually thought that the only differing of opinions was fleece styles, but now I can see that I was incorrect in that assumption.

How long before Shetland sheep are allowed to be even larger?  This truly concerns me, far more than the fleece debate. 

Longer fleeces, larger animals, loss of crimp and bounce in the fleece, loss of fineness... how much more will we lose before we care enough to say something or take the time to educate ourselves about what a Shetland should be or what they were?
I think it's time for breeder judges to be trained and utilized, it's time to leave livestock judges in the ring with meat sheep.  They do a great job judging the sheep they know,  market sheep, let's leave them to their area of expertise and develop judges that have their own area of expertise.......the Shetland sheep that conforms to the 1927 Standard! 

How many of you feel the breed is being morphed into something other than a Shetland sheep by the large increases in weight limits?  I'm very curious............

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Green County Fair 2012

Clayton showing Alabama in the ewe class. (psss-she's the moorit sheep on the left)   Bamba is having trouble believing that a sheep has to have it's head in that position to look good.  :)  

Reserve Champion Showmanship for his age group....way to go Clayton...(Clayton later went on to win Premier Showmanship for his age group)

Clayton and Bing in the ram class........I purposely didn't crop out the giant sheep following Bing to show the size of the sheep in Clayton's classes.  Poor little Bing didn't stand a chance against the Hercules sized sheep that were there.  Still, we had fun and that's what 4-H is all about.  FUN. 

Clayton is the son of a good friend of ours and he's shown Shetland sheep for 2 years now and loves it.  He does all the work with them, halter training, helping to vaccinate, worm, trim hooves etc.   He also shows dairy and so the sprint between barns can be a bit nerve racking for him at times.  He does a great job with the sheep and I thoroughly enjoy going to watch him.  
Nice job Clayton!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Random July farm photos

Mixed bag here....Salina~yearling gul/kat ewe, Santana, Mick Jagger, Shania , Janet-crossbred 

Bianca doing what she does best......bugs the crap out of poor old John.  One of several swimming pools available to our guests.  

Some repeats, but you can see they are all starving and are crowding the gate due to lack of food.  (yeah, right)

Mike heading over the hill with the chorus close behind.......baaaa, baaaa,baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, ba, hay, baaa, where's our hay, baaaa


Look Ma.....no horns.  

Nice butt and tail.........

Straight and yummy fleece.  (crossing my fingers that nothing changes)
OK Acres Elvis

Mike and I

Mike and I
Mike and I at Nick and Emily's wedding

Raised beds & chickens coops

Raised beds & chickens coops
Can't wait for this stuff to actually be food....