It’s been a busy fall here at Wild Rose Farm! We have a beautiful crop of Wensleydale, Teeswater, purebred Valais Blacknose, and percentage Valais lambs growing up here. In mid October, we finished shearing all our ewe lambs. The ram lambs and wethers were done the week before. The lamb wool is gorgeous, which we’ll use to make yarn. Anytime they’re shorn we take the opportunity to trim their hooves and give them worm medication.
The lambs were born in March and April, so they’re around 6-7 months old. Interestingly, they’ve grown fleeces at about 1 inch per month. They’ll have a good 1-2 inches of wool before we get too far into the cold of December. It’s always funny to watch not only their physical development, their fleece development, etc., but also their personalities change.
The Valais are very easy to get along with. They’ll just go “Oh, you want me to go through the chute here? Ok, no problem!” The Wensleydales are more reluctant but really have no problem with the whole procedure. Teeswaters? That’s a whole other matter. They are smart. They hang back together – always the last to cooperate. They’re more like, “Nope, not gonna do it.”
We’ve got rams with ewes in 5 different paddocks. Pure Valais rams in with Wensleydales and Teeswaters to give so 50% Valais lambs (F1’s) and with 50% Valais ewes that will produce 75% Valais lambs (F2’s). We’ve got a 96% Teeswater ram that this year got evaluated by the ATSA (Teeswater Association) and was upgraded to 100%. He’s in with some high percentage Teeswater ewes.
Late this fall we will artificially inseminate our high percentage ewes (+96%) with new genetics that came into the U.S. from the U.K. this year. This is very exciting as a 96% ewe artificially inseminated by a UK ram gives us a 97% lamb and so on. We don’t just consider a high percentage as the holy grail, though. We’re looking for overall viability, fleece quality, and conformation.
In late October, we headed off to Oregon to work with our partners in Pure Valais. During our time there, we were involved in embryo transfer work to further build our purebred Valais flock.