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?

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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