Saturday, August 05, 2006

spots and spots


Twins.....a great example of genetics at work! One a perfect hst....shorthand for yuglet sokket with a white tip on tail, you can throw bielset in there too.....see what a nice shorthand it makes! The other twin a yuglet flecket, he might even be a perfect spot producing breeding ram?....typically shetland he is also another color.

As an off-shoot of breeding choices, I suppose I should mention spots.
You likely know my entire breeding history has been in search of the ellusive bielset. All by itself!
OK, so I have seen a few that looked good...but never developed it in my flock. Oh well, it gives me someplace to strive to....he heh.
So I like spots....yes, I like spotted sheep a lot.....half of my breeding groups are dedicated to spotted sheep and spot carrying sheep....in order to produce spotted lambs.
How do you start producing spotted sheep?.....well, there is the way I did it originally....collecting lines of plain sheep who had some history of spots in their background.
But, I really think there are so many spotted sheep developed from the different breeders who have spots ....that the best way to have spotted sheep is to BUY some.
Not one....some!
The reason I mention this strongly....is that you can go out and buy a nicely spotted ram, and breed him to your girls....who may or may not be spotted....and get nothing. Well, OK, you get lambs.....but, nothing --as we like to say---flashy. So who's fault is that? Yours.
The ram is doing the best he can....he is SsSs and you gave him SSSS or SSSs girls....what do you expect? Now the next year in breeding....if you keep all the lambs from that ram, you could breed those plain looking lambs to another spotted ram.....and get flash! or not....depending on what the lambs inherited. In the meantime....how do you market those plain lambs?....."Carrying spots"....is what we see most often. Buyer beware....carrying spots, could be carrying spots for a long time, until producing spots.
Sheep are no longer terribly expensive. If you can afford to buy hay for the winter...you can afford to buy a couple of spotted ewes to go with that spotted ram.
What are the genetics of spots?....I don't know, I"ve only been breeding a few years...since '99.....we know spotted sheep have spotted lambs.... There is no way that I know of....to confine spotting to one area of the sheep....unless we are talking about sheep who are not spotted....you know those little sheep with the spot on the head that goes away in about three months.

I have rams who produce yuglet-sokkets.....and the same rams will produce yuglet-fleckets.
I also have ewes who will produce both...often as twins....
Now, think about it.... can I turn around and market that one twin who is a yuglet-sokket lamb as only producing yuglet-sokkets?
No....because I know that lamb could just as easily produce a yuglet flecket. I have it's twin at my ranch...down here they are called ranches.

The history of our present love for spots goes back a few years, spot breeders were considered stupid, and worse....by breeders who couldn't understand why a person would WANT to have a "brokened fleece" sheep.
Now, I have seen many highly spotted fleeces from spotted sheep. They spin wonderfully....they can be lightly combined to produce heathery tones. They can be blended to produce wonderful greys, and tans....they can be pulled apart to produce two or three colors. I consider those fleeces to be very useful, and pretty. So what can I say to potential clients coming to me asking for only certain spots on sheep. Gosh!!!! I have never had one like that? I have bred enough spotted sheep to assume there is no such thing. Those sheep will eventually produce a flecket. I can't guarantee that they won't. I get the impression that these folks have been led to believe that spots in a fleece are a bad thing....amazingly, by folks who are selling spotted sheep. Spots in a fleece are NOT a bad thing....they make a very pretty sheep....and, they make a very nice spinning fleece.
I'm sorry, I got on my soapbox there....Maybe there are sheep who only have white spots in certain places.... they just aren't born into my flock. I welcome flecket lambs into my flock...they are often very pretty....I certainly don't want breeders out there to think that fleckets are some sort of failure....or mistake. I'm not "creating" that flecket...the sheep I put together in breeding groups are creating it with God's help, or maybe the other way around....yes, I believe in God....I'm not going to question how perfect that lamb is. If it's alive...it's perfect...I've even had little ones that lacked that live-quality...and they were still perfect. I only have 70 or 80 lambs born in a year(ok maybe more than that)...let's say 20 of them "well-spotted". Maybe I haven't had enough spotted lambs over the last three or four years...20 times 4 =80. I'll bet I haven't had enough spotted sheep in my lifetime to know what goes into yuglet-sokkets vs. yuglet fleckets. But I believe with what little experience that I have had...that a spotted sheep can produce both kinds of spots.
See, it's my fault...I have no experience. ...don't believe a thing that I say.

On another note. We spot producers limit the number of Ag sheep in our flocks. Why? Because, if you have a flecket sheep that has Ag ...the body spots (fleckets) fade in appearance. They are there...but you might not see them.
Now here is a real questionable stance.
If a person wants the body of the sheep to be plain....why wouldn't they breed all Ag spotted sheep? I really have no clue. It would seem to me that all these folks clamboring for sheep that are spotted only in certain places....should LOVE Ag sheep????? We all know that greys and muskets are wonderfully popular fleeces to spin....so why hasn't this change over to spotted grey and musket sheep developed?
I have no idea. Perhaps it is the hype over spotted sheep. They started out rare....remember I didn't find any to buy.....and I haven't been breeding that long. So now breeders are still marketing them as rare? Nicely spotted sheep are not rare. I'll bet you could find them in every state. So, if you want some spots out in your field...go out and buy a few sheep. There is absolutely nothing as exciting as having white hooves and nose coming out of a black ewe....I just have no idea what that lamb will look like....
I don't want to miss a single lamb.
I'm a nut....
But then again, maybe.... I need to breed more spotted sheep so I become an expert.
There are experts out there....real gerus of spots.....ones who have HUNDREDS of lambs a year....
go ask them how to breed for spots.

1 Comments:

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Karen B. said...

You're right, there is nothing wrong with a flecket fleece--and think of the fun possibilities when spinning one.

 

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