dimanche 27 octobre 2013

Getting Fresh

The rams are in full rut and even though they are still no ewes in sight they jostle between them for position. No harm done, the bachelor group is a tight knit community of rams of a range of ages. Each has learnt their place in the hierarchy and even if there is always a youngster willing to chance his luck with one of the mature rams, for the most part the group is peaceable.  Soon I will put the breeding groups together, the final decisions are not yet made and probably won't be until the day the rams go in. Tonight the wind is also freshening, I suspect there will be more damage than the ramly scuffles of last night.

C'est la saison de lutte, on  le voit bien. Les béliers bousculent entre eux. Il n'y a pas de danger, la hiérarchie est bien établi, même si  ça n'empêche pas les jeunes à taquiner les adultes. Il  y a encore du temps avant que  je  mets les béliers avec les  brebis, les décisions sont pas encore finalisé, entre temps soit gentil.....

jeudi 24 octobre 2013

Something's Needling Me

Needle Felting Punch - White Ouessant Wool ( Flick Carded Locks)
Manche pour les aiguilles de feutrage - Laine blanche à mouton  d'Ouessant

This year my mission has been to explore some of the ways of using Ouessant fleece. To that end I have been experimenting with the various  methods  to prepare the fleece and also how it can be worked. One way is needle felting and it is one which in the right hands can be beautifully creative despite a simple ( if murderous ) looking tool. 

The  needle/s stab the wool,  leading to the wool felting. No messy wet blobs  of wool that  look more like an item the cat would sick up, drying around the place. Take a look at the video below to get an idea of how it works. The needles detach and fit comfortably in the handle of this nifty little tool making this a hobby that you can take almost anywhere. My first attempt at needle felting used a modified needle for injecting the sheep!! Now I am fully tooled up and ready to go. Whilst making cute little felty animals may be some peoples idea of fun I thought I would start with something that can decorate the cristmas tree so watch this space. I only hope I can find the time to finish it before the tree goes up!!

Le feutrage à l'aiguille coût presque rien et  une fois que vous avez acheté les aiguilles vous êtes prêt à commencer. Ceux qui connaissent la race  bien savent que la laine du mouton d'Ouessant a une tendance  à  feutrer très facilement. Donc, quoi de mieux qu'un feutrage créatif! Pour savoir plus comment faire,  un petit recherche sur l'internet vous donnerez des idées mais pour commencer 



 c'est à vous.

dimanche 20 octobre 2013

Conservation Breeding - Choices

 Pick Me!
As the year turns and once again it is time to consider planning this years matings. I am reminded that the topic of conservation breeding has been simmering on the back burner of my mind. Each year my choices are directed by a certain premise which may include colour, size or a myriad of other selection criteria. So given that this topic is about conservation breeding its direction is clear. .... but where to start.

First, is to identify  from which genepool you are looking to make your choices.  I considered the very basic grouping into cohorts as proposed  by Prof  Weaver ( see previous article LINK) The idea of dividing into cohorts is one consideration but to circulate only with breedings within your own flock seems unnecessarily limited and it is helpful then  to consider the larger "breed" grouping. Given that the breed is a french native the first and primary criteria would be to stick to  Ouessants of native origin.

Within this grouping it is possible to sub-divide along several criteria and here it begins to get a little more convoluted. Within the breed history there is an identification of several "souches" or groupings  of bloodlines. Divided roughly into the originating areas in which the various flocks were found. Geographically diverse, it is reasonable to assume  that these "souches" were also genetically diverse, indeed some of their characteristics and differences were recorded by those who sought to establish the breed society.

Whilst some of these "souches" exist today the generalised descriptions of the past did not always clearly define or identify individual flocks or if they did their path to the present is  not easily discerned.  There is a second sub set of groups that can be taken into consideration and this would be those breeders or flocks who have sufficiently long a history to be considered within  the breed founder flocks. Despite some who feel that it is no longer possible to identify theses founder flocks or descendants of those original sheep it is in many cases possible to do this to a sufficiently high degree as to retain a  valid and tangible link to the past, genetically and also historically.

As I move along the path of conservation breedings within my own flock  the identification of as many different branches of the tree reaching back to the trunk will formulate  an integral part of  not just  my  approach to conservation  breeding but also of  maintaining the diversity and health of the breed nationally.

vendredi 18 octobre 2013

A Days Catch

Avenie ( Coutant)
Its always a pleasure to welcome a newbie into the fold. Avenie has settled in very nicely. 
C'est toujours un plaisir d'accueillir une nouvelle agnelle au troupeau. Avenie a vite s'habitué a la vie en Bretagne.

samedi 12 octobre 2013

IGOU meeting 2013 Pölzig

Erik - IGOU  Bester Bock aller Farben Pölzig 2013
 Overall winner all rams with his Breeder / Owner E Hübner

Thanks to some great photos once again it has been possible to share in this years IGOU show. Sheep at this years show would  not look out of place  at the national show here in France but as these photos demonstrate the breed has clearly made  a comfortable transition to Germany and German breeding. Great stuff.

Some of the rams entered in the two year old black rams category.
The traditional colour black predominates and the overall standard is clearly high. 


Black yearling  ewes and hat competition;-)

A selection of brown ewes getting the judgely laying on of hands. There is something to be said for individual presentation of the sheep. It does make it easier to compare the sheep especially across a group.

Emile and Lavall

These two rams are close to being celebrities. Originally purchased by IGOU on behalf of the breed club members from France. They have been made available to club members, indeed  the ram Erik  Overall winner all rams  this year was sired by Emile.

Remus 7 vom Tannenhof  Breeder  A Jansen  Owner J Schneider
Winner Adult Black Rams

(L)  Enigma Breeder H Roller Owner F Starzman  (R) Marile ( runner up ) Owned and bred by J and A Bergmann
Enigma was judged Winner Adult Black Ewes and Overall Winner All Ewes


Photos courtesy of J Schneider 

vendredi 11 octobre 2013

Dreamy

I rather like the soft focus on the picture. Minimax looking dreamy

J'aime bien  le flou de cette photo, Minimax rêveur

jeudi 10 octobre 2013

Early Morning Lie-ins

Getting some clear photos of the ram lambs developing horns has been impossible. However with chillier later morning starts the rams are not so keen to get up in the mornings and I am able to catch them napping before they start the day. Finally an updated photos of Eusa the watch word for this season is definately horn symmetry and his are just perfect. I will get some photos for horn comparisons on the blog soon but this years horns are definately ones I will be watching for some time to come.

Il à été presque impossible à photographier  le développement des cornes des jeunes béliers mais je profite des graisses matinées. Enfin une photo à jour de Eusa, à suivre mais j'aime bien le symétrie de ses cornes. Dès que je peux je ferai un article à comparer ses cornes avec les autres de l'année.

mardi 8 octobre 2013

On my Bobbin # 4

This yarn is two halves of the same fleece one was carded and then spun the other combed and then spun. It is possible to tell the difference by eye although the camera and flash tends to flatten everything. The top bobbin is combed the bottom carded. No reason to do it this way other than I was interested to see how much of a difference it made. This is once again a trial to see whats what and how things work. Plying tonight.

Deux moities de la même toison une était cardée puis filé l'autre peignée. Juste parce que je voulais voir si vraiment il y a une différence.  On peut la voir  la différence à l'oeil mais pas si facilement en photo et avec flash. Le retors ce soir

dimanche 6 octobre 2013

You're never too old.......

I choose not to force weaning of my lambs, except for the ram lambs who are seperated at four months in order to prevent an unplanned accidental mating. For the ewes and their ewe lambs the maternal bond remains. Whilst it isn't that common to see lambs still suckling at this time of year it does happen occasionally. Hasnie is quite happy to let her lamb suckle and shows no signs of trying to rid herself of a nuisance pushy youngster, quite the opposite she seems ( perhaps anthropomorphically) to enjoy this intimacy with her lamb.

Les agnelles sont pas  forcement sevrées, les jeunes béliers sont séparés des brebis à l'âge de quatre mois afin d'éviter une saillie accidentelle. Je préfère où c'est possible qu'il soit fait naturellement,  il est rare quand même à voir une agnelle si tard dans l'année téter sa mère. J'ai l'impression que Hasnie n'est pas malheureuse.

mercredi 2 octobre 2013

Autumn Has Arrived

Its been a while since I've had the chance to spend some time with the sheep. This year the summer has been long and hot and dry, so very dry. Its still very warm and the grass is positively roaring away, the sheep content themselves with a little hay to balance out the  fresh flush of growth.

Ca fait un petit moment depuis j'ai  eu du temps à rester avec le troupeau. L'ambiance d'automne, bienvenue  après un été très sec.

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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