Archive for the ‘rams’ Category

In Memoriam

Bluff Country Skittles Bluff Country Skittles – May 7, 2003 to Summer, 2010

It is with deep regret that I inform long-time readers of this blog about the passing of one of the great Shetland rams. Bluff Country Skittles passed away in the high pastures of Colorado this past summer. Skit was a young ram, just 7 when he died, but he left a large impact, as big as he was, on many hearts during his life.

Skittles had gone up to Jared Lloyd’s ranch the summer about this time last fall. I needed new bloodlines for my small operation and Jared was very keen on adding Skittles genetics to his flock as well as “collecting” him for posterity and keeping his genetics available to future generations. Sadly, that was not to be.

One morning this summer, Jared said he walked into the sheep shed to find Skit lying down, front legs crossed and his chin resting on them the way he slept many times. But he didn’t move. When Jared went over to rouse him from his sleep, he discovered that Skit had passed on. There was no sign of trauma or markings in the dirt of a struggle or thrashing. Just Skit, asleep.

I know I will miss him. He was one of my first Shetland loves and a truly majestic ram in so very many ways. He had almost perfect conformation, was large but well-built and had personality to spare. I couldn’t have asked for a better ram to begin earnest breeding with. He had it all.

I will miss our walks around the place, Skit…and how you would gently sway me towards the apple tree for a snack of leaves if you could get away with it. You left some mighty big hooves to fill, Buddy…

…and I will miss you.

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Hmm…that new Shepherdess said I might find another sheep in here. She said it might be a girl sheep. Is that like my mother? I miss my mother and sister.

OK…there’s hay in here, but I sure don’t see any other sheep!

Maybe over here? Nope. No sheep on this wall either.

I guess I’ll just have to stand here and look cute. Boy, this being a flock ram isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
Wait a minute! I smell something vaguely familiar. And someone is sticking their head through that little door the chickens go in and out of.

This might get interesting after all!

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After a month of hard thinking, waffling over it and driving my DH crazy with discussions, I have decided that Skittles needs to find a new home – hopefully one with many more ewes than I have.
Skittles is one of the best rams I have ever seen! He has darned-near perfect conformation and a wonderful disposition which he passes on to his offspring.
Another plus is that his offspring all seem to keep their dark, rich coloring. The muskets do turn their brownish grays, but the colors always seem to be rich. Even Shaun, our red moorit iset wether, is keeping his rich red color with the iset frosting.

Being a very small sheep operation, we have to continuously keep genetics moving here. We don’t have the acreage to swap out rams or make different breeding pens. As we won’t be breeding this year, I don’t think it fair of me to retain the great genetics Skit passes on. And each morning I see the longing in his eyes as I let the girls out into the pasture. He should be “working” for someone, not cooling his heals.

And so, we offer:


Bluff Country Skittles
NASSA Reg. #15379
(To Approved Flock only)
Skittles carries spotting genetics when crossed with ewes also carrying spotting genes. Every single lamb he’s sired for us has been born with a white krunet (crown) or a few white fibers on the top of the head. Skit’s also a very respectful ram who only gets a bit feisty when it’s fall and the girls go over to the fence line to tease him. Even then he’s always respected the fencing.
The only caveat is that whomever would like to add Skittles to their flock must make a Tire-Toy for him. I don’t think he could live without his Most Beloved Tire-Toy!
And thank you, Skit…for everything you have done for us. I just think you’d be much happier in a bigger flock, Bud…

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I went out to feed this morning a bit on the late side. It was a little after 8 a.m. with a definite chill in the air. I fed the wethers, Skit and the older ewes with their brood, turning them out into the pasture for some exercise as well. I was just taking Loretta a bit of hay to shut her up as she was hollering at me all the while I was feeding the other sheep. I dropped it off in her pen then turned to check Ailee and Blessa.
It was then I noticed a dark brown pile in the pen where Ailee and Blessa were for the night. Blessa was standing there just looking at it with eyes as big as saucers. Then, it moved! It sunk in – Ailee had lambed sometime during the wee hours of the early morning!
What shocked me was not that she had lambed, but that she had shown no outward signs of even being in labor yesterday or last evening when I checked on them. Nothing. Her lamb hadn’t even dropped much, no super-swelling of her udder, no pacing or not eating, no digging to China to make a nest – nothing. If I had seen any sign at all, even an inkling, I would have jugged her straight away. Maybe I should change her name to Sneaky Pete.

Here is Ailee with her baby BOY. Yes, you saw correctly – a ram lamb. This season we have had a 100% ram lamb year!

At first I was very disappointed in the ram lambs…but then I started thinking…each one of them shows promise of being herd-sires. They all have good conformation, have rich coloring, two have spots with the others carrying spotting genetics. Can a shepherd really be bummed about having quality rams? After all, the ram is 50% of the genetic material of a flock. So what’s wrong with breeding quality rams for other flocks? Not a darned thing! 🙂

“Hey, Ma! Lay down so I can stand on you and see over this thing to look at my brother/cousin! Come on, Ma! I need help!” Poor Loretta…

At the end of this lambing season, even will 100% ram lambs, I am proud. Any shepherd would be to breed quality rams who should go on to be flock sires themselves. I think all the ewes and Skittles deserve a “Well done”! And maybe next season will be a ewe season…
One can only hope… 🙂

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