Wednesday, May 02, 2007

dark brown


OK, I know I have always said that dark brown was a Shetland myth. I bought sheep after sheep and never found they were dark brown.
I found lots of what we like to call "shetland black" and some dark moorits.
But this spring I can actually say, I HAVE a dark brown.
I have to say I owe this grand achievement to Sandy Truckner, and her flock of shetlands in Pennsylvania.
Sandy had developed several sheep which she believed to be dark brown. I bought one of her ewe lambs, we both thought would continue this trend. However, both Stephen , who was kind enough to pick this lamb up.....and I felt the lamb was again a "shetland black".
For those of you, who have never heard the term. It describes a black sheep who develops a dark brown colored fleece. Sometimes this appears to stem from a recessive for brown....sometimes it appears to be from sun-bleaching. I believe after having several of these, that it is actually a genetic thing. The dark brown fleece goes all the way to the skin, and the fleece is not black when sheared off.
I read Dr Phil's article he did for the NASSA news a couple of years ago....and he mentioned that a dark brown should be bred to a black. So I dutifully bred Sandy's modified ewe to my black ram. I haven't studied the genetics yet....but I can guarantee that the ewe was shetland least BBBb.....the ram I knew to be BBBb, and the resulting twins were both black at birth. Just like the other modified colors....this ewe lamb appeared to be an off-black....but more brownish that black. I didn't think about her much, since I didn't breed her the first year.
Now minwawe Music has had what appears to be a black lamb....and the color was so dramatically different, that I began to photograph them. Genetically.....Music is likely BBBb, and carrys at least one MMMm? I haven't noticed the ram that sired Music having a modifier. This is her first lamb.


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