Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Almost Sold Out

Today I got word from two different buyers who were thinking about buying sheep from us that they each DO want to proceed with a purchase.

I'm pretty happy about this, because between the two buyers, It looks like they are going to leave me almost completely sold out of all the sheep I wanted to sell this year, plus a couple I hadn't originally intended to sell.

I'm proud of my flock for doing so well at producing lambs that other people are eager to add to their own flocks. And I'm proud of my buyers for all asking so many intelligent questions and making wise decisions in their purchase choices.

Icelandic sheep are such an amazing all-purpose breed---good for meat, fleece, milk, and pelts---that they attract breeders with different goals. It's always gratifying when you can match a sheep that is exceptional in some way to a breeder who is specifically looking for that quality.

For instance, our best fleece ram Sebastian (pictured above), is going to go to someone who is interested in a fleece flock. Another buyer is interested in a couple of our better meat-conformation lambs. Some of my other buyers specifically wanted heat and parasite resistance. And so far, I think each buyer has made intelligent choices based on her own needs.

I try really hard to give the buyers as much detailed information about each prospect as I can, and I'm up front about both the pros and the cons of each sheep. Experienced breeders know that there are no perfect sheep---its just a matter of picking and choosing which qualities are most important to your flock.

Sheep that meet the goals of their shepherd are valued flock members for years. Sheep that don't, become mutton stew.

Earlier this summer, I had to cull the ram I purchased last fall. He had terrific bloodlines, but his horns grew in too narrow and his heat resistance was poor. With rams, especially, we have to be ruthless in our culling, because they can spread unwelcome qualities through the flock in much greater numbers than a ewe ever can.

But on the other hand, our ram Nicholai, with his exceptional parasite resistance, can spread his good qualities through the flock equally fast. I expect that we will keep him here on the farm for the rest of his life, in gratitude for his contribution to our flock.

So it pleases me to help match up the right sheep to the right owners who will benefit most from them. If I do my job right, it means that fewer of my sheep end up going to slaughter, and the ones that do go are the ones that really SHOULD go, for the betterment of the breed.


Ness said...

Hey - that's awesome!!! :-) Yay!!!

Ann said...

Yes!! Keeping my fingers crossed. That sounds so great for you and your farm.

Nyxana said...

Oh, my sweet sweet little man...you will be missed. :-(

Nancy Chase said...

Hey, it's not like we're going to EAT him. He's going to go be King of his own little flock. He'll like it!