After taking a group of ram lambs to the stockyard, Saturday morning, we settled into establishing our breeding groups for this season. We have been working them out on paper for a couple weeks; finally Saturday is THE day!
We gathered the breeding ewes into a small paddock that we set up with temporary fencing, and armed with our breeding master list began to split and move them. We set this up right at the corner of our two largest breeding group paddocks. So the majority of the ewes didn't have to be coaxed to move very far. They are separated by sturdy perimeter fencing as we have found that no matter how many ewes a ram has to himself, he does indeed tend to think that the grass is greener on other side.
After the ringing (removing the wool from the belly) of Poseidon and Aragorn, we positioned the rams' breeding harnesses. These have a wax marking crayon attached that enables us to identify on our breeding chart when a ewe has been bred. We will change the color of the crayon in 17 days and if a ewe is marked a second time, we know that she was not caught during her first cycle.
We moved the lovely Juliet, last year's bottle baby to the graveyard field paddock with the ewe lambs as she is still quite small. Hopefully she will do some catching up this winter and can be bred next fall.
We decided to keep the ram lamb 1032, Braveheart, and put him with a small breeding group in the barnyard. He has great registered Border Leicester bloodlines. His dam is Charity and his sire is Aragorn. Charity is out of Hope and Liam. We will use him this year and maybe next, then sell him as a proven ram to another farm.
Braveheart's breeding group (left to right)
924 - Meara - Coopworth - Blue-faced Leicester - Wensleydale cross
613 - Hebe - Coopworth - Wensleydale - Border Leicester cross
912 - Roisin - Border Leicester - Coopworth - Wensleydale cross
922 - Funella - Coopworth - Blue-faced Leicester - Cotswald cross
We think that these ladies' breed and fleece characteristics combined with those of Braveheart's will produce wonderful lambs with beautiful wool.
More on the other breeding groups tomorrow.