Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Another lamb!

Last night I went out to the sheep pasture to see how everyone was doing. All the sheep were scattered across the grass grazing, and then I caught a glimpse of a sheep behind some trees. Seeing silvery-white wool and a black head, I knew it was Majik. As she turned her back to me, I saw a flash of red. Blood? I slowly walked towards the trees where she was standing, and I called her name as I walked, so I wouldn't scare her. And then I saw it -- a little black lamb with white around his mouth and ears. I didn't have to get very close to know it was a ram, because he has huge horn buds.

I heard a car coming down the gravel road and knew it would be Margaret. I ran to the road and flagged her down for a ride back to the house. I grabbed the camera and some Triscuits for Majik. I walked back out to the pasture and started taking pictures. Whenever Majik acted like she was ready to leave, I'd sneak her a Triscuit so the other sheep couldn't see it. Finally she decided she wanted to stay with me, and I got about 25 pictures of her new baby. Unforunately, the camera and computer are having a little disagreement this morning, and I could only download the first seven, so you'll just have to trust me when I say that he's as cute as a lamb can be! And big!

And I'm excited about all the white sprinkled through his fiber because that means he's going to be gray.

9 comments:

Gizmo said...

He's so handsome. I'm not too familiar with Shetlands (only their fleece) - are they all born black, and then mature into their fleece color?? I'd have such a hard time giving them back to their mothers.

Deborah said...

Shetlands come in about a dozen different colors and are born at least somewhat close to their mature color. Black can be the most changeable though. A lot of lambs that are born black can wind up charcoal when they get older if they carry the ag gene. This little guy will definitely be gray in a few months, since you see the white hairs around his mouth, ears and other places.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

TWO unexpected gifts - with more to come! How wonderful! Will you have them DNA'd to know who the father is, or do you not care if they are registerable?

I have to disagree with you, though, on your statement that Shetlands are born somewhat close to their mature color. "Black" and "dark brown" lambs can go nearly white if they have the Ag gene, and some of those go through rather dramatic seasonal changes as well. And I have a ewe who looked moorit through her yearling year, then turned out to be fawn - and I think her lambs will do the same.

Deborah said...

Hi Michelle,
You're not really disagreeing with me. I think we're just stating things differently, or maybe we look at them differently. My husband looks at Majik now and calls her white, but I call her silver. She used to be gray. He's an engineer; I'm the more creative sort. So where he'll correct me if I say it's 2:15 when it's actually 2:13, I'll correct him when he says a sheep is white, and I think it's silver or cream or ecru or ... all those things that are off-white. So, when I say they're somewhat close to their mature color, I mean blacks will go to charcoal, gray, silver, etc. Browns may fade to tan, fawn, beige, etc. Maybe I simplified too much, but I have had people ask if a black lamb will turn white, because they assume all sheep are white.

I'm excited about this little guy though because he is definitely going to be gray! He's got white hairs all over him. I've been wanting gray sheep for five years. I keep getting black lambs, which haven't faded to anything lighter than a charcoal by 4 years old.

As for DNA testing ... maybe the ewe lambs. The boys will all be wethered, so it doesn't really matter.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Could your "charcoal" sheep be shaela? So many people get overrun by Ag that they can be hard to sell around here, but shaela (and emsket) are now considered modified colors and are much sought after. I would LOVE a sheep who stayed charcoal! My one grey wethered lamb has more color than his dam and half-sister did, and I would love to keep him just for his fleece. Not enough room for all the colors here, though....

How is your LGD doing now? He has his work cut out for him with lambs to protect!

Gizmo said...

This is all very fascinating to me. My sheep are white or black....suffolk, dorset and corriedale. I'm wanting to get another Jacob ram, but probably not for quite a while.
I was going to ask about a LGD. The llamas will work, but if the coyotes are hunting in packs they might be overwhelmed.

Deborah said...

Shaela! Yep, that's it. I googled "shaela Sheltands" and got a link to Nancy's blog about the difference between shaela and black. Thanks! I understand now. One of my ewes is definitely shaela, maybe two or three of them. If I sold my sheep or showed them, I'd probably care more about the colors, but I just love all of them. My gray fleeces (and shaela) are the fastest to sell, so I don't know why people don't like those colors on the sheep, but I've heard that Ag sheep are less desirable. How interesting to learn that shaela isn't the same as Ag.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I've heard lots of people say their Ag fleeces sell well, but the reason breeders don't like to have many of them is that Ag is dominant over most other patterns and will "take over" a flock.

Nancy K. said...

I had completely forgotten that you have Majik, Deborah!!! I'll watch for more photos...

I remember, when she was about 5 months old and I had the vet out for a flock health check. My vet said: "That has got to be the most beautiful sheep I have EVER seen"!

I still have a picture of her on the wall in my office. I'm so glad that she found such a good home...

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