Tuesday, January 26, 2016


   So, I'm breeding for the p' gene (gene? allele? I don't know which is correct?). While doing so, I am and have been seeking out animals that I feel are likely p'/p' to use in my breeding program, and also trying to determine if the p' gene produces thicker or wider sweeping horns in rams (as the current rumor postulates).

  While currently, I have no way of knowing what, if any, horn phenotypes are indicative of the presence of p' as opposed to p in rams (I haven't found the research or gathered convincing data from my own flock to prove it), so my searches have been limited to ewes....kind of the opposite situation someone who would be breeding for P would be in (they, being limited to just the rams).

     Underhill Bridget has proven over and over that she is p'/p'. Every single one of her offspring has had at least one p' gene, when bred to non-carrier rams.

    Based off Bridget, my initial thinking at the beginning of this was that "full horns" meant p'/p', no argument, and anything that didn't resemble what I considered "full horns" must be heterozygous of some sort (either p'/p or p'/P).  However, after doing some more pedigree research, asking around, discovering this article (http://www.wavingpinesfarm.com/the-library/horn-inheritance/), and observing sheep in my own flock, it would appear my initial conclusion was incorrect. There are other genes at play besides the base horn genes, and not all heterozygous animals appear like this:

    While width and length of  horns are still good indicators of the presence of the p' gene, ewes like Korsvejgaard Gidget (background, right) are p'/p and still have "full horns", though they are, at this point, not as sizeable as her dam's. This means Sheltering Pines Kristine (foreground, left) may be p'/p as well. It's very possible Kristine is p'/p', as both her parents carried, but I don't have much in regards to her production record to know for sure. In either case, I suppose it's possible to find heterozygous ewes with "full horns" (think aberrant full horns in P-carrier rams) and homozygous ewes with scurs/smaller horns (teacup horns in horned rams).

    Some of these other "modifier" genes, that Waving Pines Farm points out, affect width and length of horns, as well as curvature, rigidness and smoothness, rise, and run. So, while I'm going to continue to seek out and breed for ewes with large horns (ideally, I would only bring in or keep proven p'/p' ewes, but I don't always have the luxury of knowing), I'll probably also (by default) be selecting for the longer, thicker etc, ends of the spectrum for these "modifier" genes.

   This is only "bad" for one reason, I will have no idea whether p' is the cause for wider or thicker horns in rams or if my selecting for the larger/longer horns in ewes correlates to the thicker/wider horns in rams.... :/

Saturday, January 9, 2016

My "A Line"

Apologies for the formatting throughout this.

Korsvejgaard Luminous (Korsvejgaard Rambo x Korsvejgaard Lucille)

Korsvejgaard Luminous (Korsvejgaard Rambo x Korsvejgaard Lucille)

Korsvejgaard Rambo's pedigree:
Korsvejgaard Rambo (Wintertime Blues AI x Hillside Dolly)

Korsvejgaard Rambo (Wintertime Blues AI x Hillside Dolly)

Wintertime Blues AI (Todhill Jericho x Whistlestop 0427 AI)
Hillside Dolly (Berghoff Sir Richard Joe x Berghoff Daisy)

Todhill Jericho
Whistlestop 0427 AI (Drum Ram x Whistlestop 0104 AI)
Drum Ram

Korsvejgaard Lucille's Pedigree:

Korsvejgaard Lucille (Korsvejgaard Sting x Shaltz Farm Katie)

Korsvejgaard Sting (Wintertime Moth x Whistlestop 0427 AI)
Wintertime Moth (Sheltering Pines Bug x V Creek Princess Buttercup)

Sheltering Pines Bug (Wintertime Fudge x Sheltering Pines Bengal)

Wintertime Fudge (Wintertime Black Forrest x Wintertime Ruby)
Sheltering Pines Bengal

Wintertime Black Forrest

Wintertime Ruby (Wintertime Sandstone x Whistlestop 0427 AI)

Shaltz Farm Katie (Lugthart Fameflower AI x El-Jireh's Bella)

Lughthart Fameflower AI (Enfield Greyling x Lugthart Carnation)

El-Jireh's Bella

Enfield Greyling

Monday, January 4, 2016

Decisions- Part 2

       So, spring 2011. I had all the makings of a very nice 1927 Standard Flock, but no concept of what the 1927 Standard was, and very little concept of what a Shetland Sheep was. I had a great group of lambs, but I essentially went nowhere with my flock. I was fairly gung-ho about things, but still wasn't sure what I was doing.

Korsvejgaard Sting (Wintertime Moth x Whistlestop 0427 AI), our "logo ram" from my first batch of registerable lambs. His genetics influence my current flock.
     I had chatted with Garrett Ramsay and Jared Lloyd about fleece a little bit on the Shetland Sheep Forum, and joined in on many blog discussions and Facebook discussions, but the takeaway here is, I started out wrong, and am pretty embarrassed these days when I find some of my old comments when scouring the internet. So naive. Keep in mind, this was during the time when the whole "Defund NAILE" and "Fleece Battles" were in full swing. Not a good time for someone who's overly confident and doesn't know what they are talking about to be super active.

This photo.
Underhill Iago AI (Roban Dillon x Underhill Bianca), a ram who I was going to use for an " all polled flock".
     All that teen angst that I had pointed out earlier? That was going crazy here, and I caused all sorts of trouble for myself and others (accusing Stephen of having barberpole in his flock, arguing with Theresa Gygi, accusing people of blackballing me, buying and selling lots of animals, complaining about other's breeding decisions, criticizing polled and fine fleece breeders, the list goes on...). I could go into far more detail but, it was mostly bad decisions. I'd rather not re-live all that and it probably wouldn't be all that constructive. In any case, this is what lead me to come to my first flock dispersal. Very few of my starter flock remained afterwards, and I gained a bit of humility.

Korsvejgaard Corrina (Sheltering Pines Blanc De Riz x Farview Farm Rosie), a favorite ewe from 2011, who I sold off. I currently own her aunt.
       In 2012, I went through a similar cycle, and again in 2013.

Wintertime Blues AI (Todhill Jericho x Whistlestop 0427 AI), a great influence on my current flock. One of my all-time favorites.
Hillside Charlie Chaplin, a ram I had wanted to have a "primitive line" from.
         I went a few different directions with my flock, and made a few interesting decisions, but none of it seemed original or not necessarily sincere (some out of spite)...very rough period. School plans and different jobs were not panning out how I had wanted them to, and so I was struggling with direction in life as well. Looking back, it's interesting to see how things lined up like that.
         2014 was better and I began to do actual legitimate research on the breed itself and I think that is when I began to put together this website, but I nearly sold off my entire flock while under the charm of a very regret/stress-inducing girlfriend. Some of you may know that after that relationship ended, I kind of fell off the face of the earth. I had no job, no direction (yes, and almost no sheep). It was time for me to figure things out, and so I did. I now know what I want to do in life, and I also know that I do indeed want to be a steward of this breed, and how I want to do so (breeding for good representatives of, and promoting the 1927 Standard, as well as preserving the p' gene).
      I have had just about every kind of fleece in my flock you can imagine, and just about as many different genetic and lineal combinations. I've experimented with just about everything. I don't know what your story is with your flock or how you have settled on what you want to breed for, I don't know all your flock goals. We may disagree on some things and agree on others, and that's okay. Our experiences and knowledge shape our choices. Even the most experienced breeders have more to learn. If you are looking for your niche, I encourage you to talk with others and visit as many flocks as you can, and research, research, research.


Decisions- Part 1

          Holy cow! I can't believe it's 2016 already. I missed the ball drop again this year. Er, at least I think I did. Unlike last year wherein I stood freezing out in the cold by a small bonfire as an old acquaintance, whose invitation to his household get-together I had accepted somewhat out of pity (knowing most people would not show up to his party), smoked a joint (I did not join him- never smoked, don't plan to), this year (what a contrast) I unfortunately had one too many drinks downtown, and don't remember the ball dropping, as well as the majority of my night. As a result, this is about the only day (1/4/16) since that I have felt 100% healthy. On the brightside of things, this year has only gotten better, and I've come away with a pretty clear (for the sake of my liver, my wallet, and reputation!) New Year's Resolution. 
       Decisions. On my farm page on Facebook, I talk about decisions quite a bit, mainly those regarding the future of my flock. So, as I approach the mark of year number eight for my flock, I thought I would take some time to review how my flock has changed over the years, what decisions I've made over the years, and how I have grown with experience as a shepherd and as a person as a result of these decisions. Strap in, this may be my longest blog post yet.
       My adventure with sheep began in 2005. For my younger sister Lena's birthday (4/20), my dad decided on a whim to get her a pet lamb (I think actually might have been something to do with our 20-some year old horse, "Sparky" having to be put down around his time, now that I think on it). My older sister, Kristen, who had always wanted a lamb as a child was not amused. April surprisingly lived, I guess it would have been two years, with my giant panda bear stuffed animal in our barn/ in an outside pen, with zero of us having any previous sheep experience, until 2 weeks prior to Christmas of '06 until one of us in our family fed her a bunch of tomatoes and slop and she died. I mention Christmas, because I was the only one that had noticed that she had died throughout those entire two weeks, until I asked my dad on Christmas Day if he or Lena had fed April in awhile. Dark times.
April and I, coming home from picking her up. She pooped on me.
          Lesson learned? Nope. My dad felt bad for Lena, so the following summer, he drove over and purchased two sheep from my neighbor, Dan Donnelly, owner of Farview Farms, former NASSA Flock #1402. Thus began my experience with Shetlands.

Farview Farm Mike (Sheltering Pines Darius x Sheltering Pines Licorice) and Farview Farm Angelina (Sheltering Pines Darius x Sheltering Pines Gwenhwyfach).
Mike as a two-year-old.
     Now, I had pitied April (that giant stuffed panda bear that I had given to her was one of my favorite things when I was younger), and definitely did not want the same fate to occur to Mike and Angelina, so I took over caring for them. Things went alright, and the next spring (2009), they produced Shawn, our first Shetland lamb.
Lena remembers we have sheep.
     Mike had pretty much turned into the thing we showed all our friends and cousins when we were bored, and also the embodiment of my childhood nightmares of our neighbor's goat, Bucky.
Mad Mike destroys a wall, then later tries to kill my toddler sister, Ditte.

    Fast forward to the summer of that year, and I realized that when fall comes around, Mike and Angelina would be going in with each other, but I needed an ewe for Shawn, because...well, I don't remember what my reasoning was. Either way, I needed new genetics because Mike and Angelina were half-siblings and we were all weirded out by inbreeding. So, I began reading Shetland Sheep blogs, and I remember contacting Corrine Rasso, Stephen Rouse, Mike & Heather Ludlam, and Zack & Holly Shaltz. What I was looking for were colors besides black and brown, and I remember that I really liked the spotting that Corrine had, but Corrine was in Iowa (wherever that was), and I think it was she directed who me to the breeders in Michigan. However, the Ludlam's prices were really high at the time, and all I had in my bank account was what I had made working as ball-boy and weeding onion fields for Dell Pike of Saranac, MI (who unbeknownst to me at the time, was just getting into Romeldale/ CVM genetics and helping discover the "blue patterns" in that breed). Stephen was selling some older ewes, lambs, and ewes along with their lambs. I remember being totally fascinated by what I saw on his old (now deleted) website (the one that featured Sheltering Pines Snowy and Sheltering Pines Hildegard at the bottom) and on his blog, and I was really close to buying Sheltering Pines Isidora and her 2009 twin lambs (ram and ewe), but wasn't especially keen on doubling my flock size, I don't think (kicking myself in the foot now, looking at their pedigrees), plus Stephen was using all these words like "registered", "sire", "dam", "NASSA" and "pedigree", and I wasn't sure what all that meant, and I just wanted a normal Shetland Sheep. He did have some non-registered animals he would have sold me for $125.00, but they were black and brown, and that's not what I was looking for. So, I went with Zack Shaltz of Boyne City, who was offering non-registered lambs of various colors for $125.00 and registered animals of various colors for $150.00. I chose a white, non-registered ewe lamb, which I named Louise, after Lake Louise (a lake in Boyne Falls that my sister's in-laws have a cottage on, that we stayed at for the weekend). Thus started my trend of named Shaltz Farm descendants with L names.
Zack Shaltz, Louise, and my adolescent self.
Shaltz Farm Louise B42 (Lugthart Fameflower AI x W17 (Shaltz farm Dusty x Shaltz Farm Gloria))
  I had spent the fall and winter on the Shetland Sheep Forum and the Public Version of the NASSA Database studying pedigrees and genetics and had become a bit obsessive with Sheltering Pines Darius (Mike and Angelina's sire), and was super happy when Mike and Angelina had produced two very Darius-like rams. Mike had been slaughtered prior to their birth, for previously mentioned reasons, and also Judi Lehrhaupt and I didn't think that he was exactly fit for registration because of face-tight horns.
Sheltering Pines Darius
Reuben and Remnar
Reuben all grown up.

Fantasti-fleece Remnar all grown up.

Renmar all grown up.
    Around this time, I sent in an application for NASSA Membership (although I don't think I officially became a member until fall). Soon, I learned that the majority of my flock was unregisterable, Angelina being the only one that I was able to have registered. This was also when I learned that Darius had died in 2008 as the result of tumor on his spine, and so I was feeling some feels, and wanted to preserve Darius' line (and Stephen's work with spotting). Also, for some reason I was convinced that yuglet flecket spotting with the accompanying black spot on the mouth was being bred out by top breeders (shaking my head currently). I don't know what I was thinking with all this, but I full-on searched the pedigrees for remaining Darius offspring, and landed upon Whispering Pines Captain Kidd, son of Sheltering Pines Cihat (Sheltering Pines Darius x Wind River Jubilee) and Sheltering Pines Cor de Nuit (Underhill Thelonius Monk x Justalit'l Lana), owned by Rich and Jennifer Johnson.
Sheltering Pines Cihat
Whispering Pines Captain Kidd

     After talking with Rich, he pretty much told me it would be illogical to drive all the way out to New York to get a Darius grandson, when any offspring I would produce out of my Darius daughter, would be Darius grandchildren, and that I should just get a spotted ram from someone near me and breed it to Angelina, and also that Darius didn't really have that fine of wool, and that Stephen Rouse or Karen Valley would probably have something much finer than Captain Kidd. That made sense. Dreams crushed, I searched around, and found out that Karen Valley did have a yuglet flecket ram lamb for sale, and I quickly inquired. She said it was half-polled, and I was like, "It's cool, Captain Kidd was half-polled, too", not entirely knowing what that meant, despite hearing about it on Nancy Krohn's and Juliann Budde's blogs. So we worked it out that we could meet at the Michigan Fiber Fiesta in my hometown, so that I could buy him, because I had much more money now to spend on things, I was working a max of 5 hours a week at Burger King!

Wintertime Grasshopper and Wintertime Moth (Sheltering Pines Bug x V Creek Princess Buttercup)
Moth, at the end of summer.
Moth's fleece, midside.
      Later that spring, Shawn and Louise produced a white ram lamb and stillborn moorit ewe (underdeveloped). Eight days later, Louise died due to bloat. That fall, we had a friend slaughter Shawn.

Shawn as a yearling.

Louise and newborn Linus.

Linus, myself, and all my teen angst.

Linus and all my angst following me everywhere.

Linus, all grown up.

    Not too long after getting Moth, I wanted to have more registered sheep. So, from Karen Valley, I purchased Whistlestop 0427 AI (Drum Ram x Whistlestop 0104 AI) and Wintersky Secondhand Rose (Winterseky Skater Boy x Bono Creek Carnation), and from Dan Donnelly, I would purchase Farview Farm Rosie (Wintertime Blues AI x Sheltering Pines Gwenhwyfach).

         During breeding season, I had Moth and his girls in one pen, and Linus and Remnar in another. Linus and Moth constantly butted a iron panel to get to each other, and Moth ended up dying as a result. It was a sad day for me. As a replacement, I purchased Sheltering Pines Blanc De Riz (Wintertime Fudge x Sheltering Pines Catherine) from Stephen. Blanc died not long after from god only knows, and then a fellow breeder, Frank Welling, gifted us Shaltz Farm Katie (Lugthart Fameflower AI x El-Jireh's Bella), though she had been bred to one of Frank's rams.
          That brings us up to Spring 2011. Which, with what I had at this point, prior to lambing, I would have had the makings of a very nice 1927 Standard flock. I had no rams, but five very nice ewes, four of which were pregnant by two very fine rams.

                                                To be continued.....

Potential Fall Breeding Groups: Group #3 of 3

Wintertime Jay-Z Sire: Wintertime Blue Jay Dam: Wintertime Malia Color Genotype: Ab/Aa BB/BB SS/S? MM/M? Horn Genotype/Phenotype: p/p? T...