dimanche 24 novembre 2013

Horn Comparisons Autumn 2013

I have tried a number of time to get this rams horns from a head on view, without success. This is Minimax. I wanted to make a comparison not with another of this years rams but one of the earlier posts on development of rams horns. LINK This post from  2009 features Faolan as a youngster.

 There are some noticeable differences particularly the spread of Minimax's horns which are far more horizontal to each other and they have a rotation which gives them greater starting height than those of Faolan. However there are sufficient similarities to make a comparison. As I still have Faolan today I am able to compare not just on the early development but also on the possible outcome as an adult. On a number of points I think there is an improvement.  However there is still a long way to go towards producing reliable hornsets with the right attributes. This years rams and their range of horn variations have given me a much broader base to work from. Not withstanding luck which is always a nice bonus, finally I can see some direction to take. 

samedi 23 novembre 2013

Automne en Bretagne

The rich reds and golden sunshine of autumn  in Brittany. Punctuated by fluorescent orange jackets of the huntsmen....... so hopefully they avoid shooting each other .............they are *mostly*  successful. Two hundred metres from  taking this photo a magnificent pheasant made his way across the road, we looked at each other, nodded and he went on his way. The joys and madness of living in Brittany...

mercredi 20 novembre 2013

Boyish Charm

Brothers, who are in many ways quite similar and yet in others quite different. This photo has offered me several insights, what I enjoy most about it is the relaxed shared space of the two youngsters.

dimanche 17 novembre 2013

Selection - Breeding Groups

The nursery group, the ewe lambs that won't be bred this year. These ewe lambs either bred by myself or brought in from outside flocks  are destined for an appointment with the ram next year. However the selection process began from before they were even born. Last years choices of matings has dictated the genepool that I want to work with. To this end I have considered the available blood lines and worked to maintain  representation  of each bloodline within my flock. This is conservation breeding and is dealt with under another heading. In addition to conservation breeding I am looking to retain those sheep that fit within my parameters for the breed. It is good at this point to ask yourself what is the ultimate aim, not the short term aim of the lamb that is in front of you next year or the year after that, in the case of these ewes, but the longer term aim for your flock. Where do you see things going?

If you were to fast forward your flock by five or ten years using the current goals how would the flock look?.................................

Within this grouping of five ewe lambs there are four different  unrelated ram bloodlines in the first generation and five different  unrelated ewe bloodlines in the first generation. The selection criteria that I have used over the last few years is designed to retain maximum variability with regards to alleles present within the flock and yet  selection criteria has been towards set goals for producing animals of sound construction that represent the breed standard and reproduce those results consistantly. This has been hard at times and there have been moments when I have found the decision making process difficult. In those moments I return to the question what is my long term goal?

samedi 16 novembre 2013

Ramly Headaches

Ti'beau has a set of horns that would give anyone  a headache,  but I was thinking more along the lines of keeping rams and unbred ewes on the same site.  A recent conversation reminded me that I am lucky to be able to house my rams seperately to the ewes when needed, in such a way that the rams cannot stress over not getting to the ewes when they are on heat. This isn't the case for everyone and keeping rams and unbred ewes apart, fences in place and stress levels down when they are in close proximity can be difficult.

Owning a ram comes with a set of responsibilities, no matter how calm and docile out of breeding season the hormonal influence cannnot be under estimated when an on heat ewe is around. They can become dangerous and even a Ouessant ram can cause injury. Think carefully what the reasons are behind a decision to own a ram, if you really want to breed then there is no reason not to look at the options for  the loan of a ram for a breeding season. Problems associated with in-breeding can be avoided and you still have the option for lambs without the difficulties of a testosterone fuelled set of horns for more than a few weeks at most.  The alternative is to own and all male flock, bachelor groups of rams work very well provided there are no ewes in the vicinity to upset the balance.

This years breeding groups will be together for a maximum period of six weeks, long enough for the ewes to cycle a second time if not bred the first time around. After that the rams will all rejoin the bachelor group and peace and tranquility will be restored for everyone.

Il est parfois difficile quand vous avez le ou les béliers au même endroit que les femelles  surtout s'il y en a que vous voudriez pas reproduire pour un raison où l'autre. Malheureusement souvent ceux qui débutent avec un couple ( mâle et femelle ) tombent sur ce problème  assez vite à cause du consanguinité et le fait qu'il est souvent plus difficile  à placer les mâles. Un bélier même si c'est un mouton d'Ouessant peut être agressif s'il est frustré et qu'il sent une brebis en chaleur.  A devenir propriétaire d'un bélier n'est pas sans responsabilité. Un troupeau des moutons constitué des femelles et les mâles castré peut être un solution. Si vous voudriez des naissances,  à trouver quelqu'un à vous prêter un  mâle peut être un option à fin de limiter les difficultés . 
L'option d'avoir un troupeau constitué seulement des mâles  est impressionnant  à voir et moins  turbulent  qu'un mâle séparé des femelles. Il n'est pas obligatoire à prendre un mâle  avec une femelle surtout si vous n'avez pas l'expérience, soyez prudent, mais n'oubliez pas un mouton seul est un mouton malheureux il faut au mois deux.

dimanche 10 novembre 2013

Plan B

Irritatingly blogger seems to want to automatically lighten this photo no matter what I do!!
Originally this yarn which is from on my bobbin # 4 was destined to be alot more funky than it is. However I wasn't adventurous enough and instead I got a yarn which is chunky and textured. Thats OK, plan B.  I haven't crochet'd since I was in my teens :-o still, it isn't difficult and I picked a knot which is so simple to do how could I go wrong? Well I did a couple of times but lets gloss over that :-).

Thanks to the internet and youtube to be precise I found an eloquent and easy to follow guide to how to do this knot and make a shawl. LINK Now let me tell you I had resolved not to make a shawl,  however plan B and all that . That being said I am pleased it has turned out as well as it has and I have learnt from doing it. 

This is more the actual colour of the yarn
So I can tick off one more project completed, more learnt and I have found inspiration for the next project, but for now back to christmas decorations!!

Un châle au crochet  de laine de mouton d'Ouessant! Enfin , ça me fais plaisir d'avoir réussi à filer la laine de mes moutons. Les moutons que j'ai élevé, tondu et maintenant peux dire qu'ils sont pas uniquement pour tondre l'herbe c'est  vraiment un bête à laine, on retourne au débuts de la race.  Même s'il  y a du travail encore pour l'apprentissage du filage, je suis contente.

samedi 9 novembre 2013

Gary and the Giggly Girls

 Gary having a back scratch
This years ewe lambs are not being bred, one reason amongst several is because of  Schmallenberg disease. It falls to Gary  then, the long suffering wether to keep them company. Gary is extremely paternal and takes his duties seriously, however he is long suffering, the giggly girls are so named because they can behave like a group of hysterical teenagers at times. Gary offers them a stable influence always  calm and collected, when the time comes I'm not sure how we'll do without him. Neither are the giggly girls.

Tonton Gary ( mâle castré) reste avec les agnelles de l'année qui seront pas mise à la reproduction, à cause de la risque du virus schmallenberg. Elles lui adorent, il est doux, calme et toujours là au moments d'angoisse. Bon continuation Gary et bon courage!

mardi 5 novembre 2013

A Christmas Affair

These are not yet finished but are shaping up nicely for christmas decorations
Ils sont pas encore fini mais ils me semblent d'être pas mal  comme décorations de noël

dimanche 3 novembre 2013

On My Bobbin #5

There is an advantage to growing your own fleeces and that is that you will have a  selection available to choose from when it comes to selecting for specific projects. Here I specifically wanted a woolly fleece and wanted to spin a fat yarn. In truth I would have liked the yarn to be fatter but my spinning skills are still being honed. This will form part of a black and white project if all goes well..

J'ai choisi une de mes toisons plus laineux pour un projet en noir et blanc, l'avantage d'avoir un troupeau de mini-moutons est qu'il y a plus de choix par rapport à la laine.  Je cherchais  à filer un fil assez épais on verra plus tard si c'est suffisant.....

samedi 2 novembre 2013

Rich Russets

Autumns bounty is plentiful this year with an early start to the chainsawing, this is mostly cherry.
Nous profitons des cerisiers d'automne!

 Apples in abundance...... Its'ok we have enough, no, really more than enough!
 Pommes en abondance,  vraiment, on a suffisent.....


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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