dimanche 24 juin 2007

Ouessants looking for pastures new

Esmi with her beau Doddy don't they make a lovely couple.They are definately not looking for pastures new!

I receive a number of enquiries via this blog for people who have Ouessants or people who are looking to find a home for their Ouessants. If you are interested in either selling or buying a ouessant or two. I'm quite happy to post details.

Currently a trio of Ouessants available in Normandy

Four ram lambs available UK

vendredi 22 juin 2007

Baby Pics

I found this today whilst looking for some other photos its of Eclair within a few hours of her birth last summer

Colour Inheritance

Given that the breed standard allows for a number of different colours and at the recent show noisettes ( nut brown) and any other colour had their own class I was pondering the specifics of colour inheritance. White is dominannt surprising then that so few white Ouessant sheep seem to be available in Holland where there appears to be a slightly higher predominance of Browns with Blacks being the ever present largest colour variety. Here in France finding a good brown Ouessant seems to be a very hard thing to come by. I am told by a man in the know that there are now a number of greys around but as yet they are still a rare sight.

So I eagerly await the arrival of the new little boy whose parents are both white and have produced soley whites for the last few generations. Little Gwenaelles ( white ewe lamb) exact genetic inheritance remains to be determined but it seems that the next couple of years should bring some interesting colour combinations both nice to look at and definately of added interest to spinners. A good link to help understand the inheritance of colour and the genetic background is here Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders association of Australia.

I will also have to explore Rosies potential for producing colour variations she has an interesting colour fleece.

GEMO 19th National Competition

What a fun day! Loads of sheep and sheepie people. For now a few pics to be getting on with I'll write up the day when I have a bit more time on my hands. Heres a few things to savour for the moment.

First off was the measuring. The breed has a height standard and is strictly adhered to, no entrants allowed that don't meet the criteria Rams 49 cms Ewes 46cms at maturity. This ram was judged over height and not allowed to compete. He wasn't the only one but on the whole the size and standard of the sheep at the show was excellent.

Measured, registered and settling in for the day.

Judgely Huddle

Good day!

mercredi 20 juin 2007

Stop press "Its a boy!"

Arriving late in the year, a little black boy with the most impeccable breeding reserved for yours truly, no photos just yet but it won't be long. How excited am I??!! I'm on the hunt for names of course I think I'll stick with the Breton theme.
This week Doddy got his first close look at the girls. Introductions went really well. He is the gentlest of rams, very laid back. Not too much longer and I will have to start weaning and splitting them into the various groups but its good to know that his temperament is as good as his looks; Whats that?............ I can hear the wispering of sweet nothings

mercredi 13 juin 2007

A Good Day Out

Last weekend the Ecomusée at Rennes played host to the 19th national competition for Ouessant Sheep.They were superb hosts providing not only excellent facilites for the sheep but laying on lunch and in a great setting too.

It was a time to meet and greet some of the names and faces in the world of Ouessants, some beautiful animals and a good day was had, I think, by all. GEMO the breed society in France has taken great strides to standardise the breed and to ensure that the competition fosters good breeding and sound animals. They are doing a great job.

First came the measuring. Each sheep is measured against the breed standard height maxium and also for the younger animals there is an ideal height range to try to ensure that yearlings are not likely to outgrow the height standard and be placed this year but be oversized by the time they mature. Having checked everyone in and worked out who was eligible to compete, it was time for a short ( by french standards!) lunch and then back for the real business of the day, the judging. An international panel of four judges, judged to a new trial scoring system deducting points for various attributes or lack of them.

This system went down well with the spectators who appreciated the critiques given and the reasoning behind the placing and as was the case with some classes with the withholding of the top prize.

Whilst there I got the chance to have a quick look around the Ecomuséé what a fantastic place and for my participation I got a couple of free tickets to return to the museum which I most certainly will. There are alot of exhibits and breeds of livestock from the region to see and ooh over, I will be back!

One exhibit was the spinning and textiles hall. It was interesting to watch the demonstrations of spinning and weaving and even more exciting to see the jaws of the exhibtors drop when I brought out the yarn sent to me by Pamela spun from one of my ouessants. Such fine and evenly spun yarn, they couldn't believe it was hand spun! It was pointed out that such skills have for the most part been lost but rest assured the spinner there at the Ecomusée is off to find some quality Ouessant fleece to spin!

The weather stayed good and the final juding whilst full of discussion and much musing over detail was fascianting to watch and I look forward to next year. Not only to see who brings what but in the knowledge that I have one or two little treasures that I am really hopeful will put on a good show......................... more another time.

lundi 11 juin 2007

Heres Doddy!

Known affectionately to his friends as Diddy Doddy he was in need of a bit of a haircut when he arrived!

and here he is just three weeks later.

Ouessant Sheep Everywhere!

Have you ever seen so many together!

vendredi 1 juin 2007

The Ouessant Sheep originates from the island of Ouessant, part of a tiny archipelago just off the north coast of Finistere, Brittany. The island of terror as it was known to some, was swept by the full force of the atlantic’s weather, the hardy sheep adapted to survive on poor grazing from salty clifftop meadows. It was the women of the island that raised the sheep, renowned for their black wool to weave into cloth known locally as berlinge and their meat with its sweet and delicate taste.

La race "Mouton d'Ouessant" est originaire de l’île d’’Ouessant qui fait parti d’un petit archipel au large du Finistère, Bretagne. L’île de l'épouvante comme c'était connu par certains était balayé par les intempéries de l’atlantique, ces moutons rustiques s'adaptaient à survivre sur les pâturages pauvres des falaises salées. C’était les femmes de l’île qui élevaient les moutons réputés pour leur laine noire à tisser « la berlinge » une étoffe régionale et leur viande avec un goût doux et délicat.

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