We are nearing the end of lambing season (3-4 ewes left to go!) It's like Christmas is never over for us until we finish helping all of our Spring lambs into the world, and this season has been great! Last season, we had an overwhelming amount of ram lambs. We were due after years of the girls winning. This year, the girls have won again by a slim margin, and we have many to sort through and make the hard decisions. Wouldn't it be nice to keep them all? Snuggles and cuddles and ear tagging and hoof trimming and worm counting and feeding and shearing? Ok, Ok. Yes, we'll have to carefully chose who to keep after all.
How do we decide who stays and who goes? Well, despite all the flashy colors Finns can sport, we have decided that it is most important for us to concentrate on parental talents and lamb silhouettes. In other words, how does mom do for udder, maternal instincts, number of lambs and ability to care for them, etc? How is her long term endurance? For the sire, we've done the research, and he would not have been added to our mix if he didn't fit the genetics and type in all ways that we are looking for. We don't wait if we see a ram that we want in our herd. I'm not afraid of too many rams. However, that being said, I also am very picky about who we bring in. Thus, generally, I don't have problems with having too many rams. I would like to see beautiful provings of these rams in our flock and so will grow out many lambs to see what stays and who may need to go.
The lamb silhouettes dancing around do have attitudes of their own, fleeces, and colors, but I pretend not to see them as I look for that straight back, nice reasonably wide face, good hooves and pasterns, growth, well-shaped legs that are not angled. I'm not at all saying that we are perfectly where we want to be in all these areas by any means, but I can say that we make new efforts every year and are always excited to see the results! After the silhouettes, I back out and look for that special something. Sheen, crimp, color, personality. Oo-la-la! Finns can have it all! I certainly ask my rams to get as close as possible and am excited when they can pass this on to my new lambs.
Even though we keep our best lambs, I think in the long run that this benefits our buyers. As we select so carefully, we are moving our flock towards a common goal whether or not we are retaining all the lambs. These improvements can be noted in the lambs that we decide to sell from year to year as we continue to aim for that moving target. And though the movement of that target will diminish, I know that it will always be moving! Improvement is part of the fun after all!
So what do we have this year? Surprisingly, we had a higher percentage of black than we had expected! And so we will be only keeping the very best ewe lambs and offering other black ewe lambs for sale. Also, we have some worthy ram lambs to list. This is the first year that we have added true brown to our flock, and we have some stunning ram lambs to offer that I believe would make any Finnflock proud. We will be retaining all of the ewes from our brown sets.
And is the most wonderful time of the year near to ending then? I don't think so... We have had some of the most healthy and hardy lambing that we've ever had. Anytime we visit the barn, the lambs skip in to greet us! Soon the little bits of green pasture will be springing up to try to keep up with our new littles and bursts of warm happiness and glowing fleeces will abound! Please do contact us if you are interested in learning more about our available Finn babies. We'd love to share more info about us, our lambs, and our farm!
P.S. All lambs below and above are from this January or February. Our flock was tested clear for OPP and Johnnes in Spring 2020.
This blog chronicles our very full life here on WoodSong Farm. We will share everything from dog to sheep stories, unique wooly works, to animal husbandry tips we pick up along the way. I hope this helps to give you an idea of what our extended farm family and wooly projects are like, and that we may somehow benefit everyone who reads about our journey.