In my last post, I acknowledged the issue that has persisted in my flock for a number of years. I haven’t succeeded in getting them to be as productive as they need to be, and I’ve concluded that I’ll be better off working with a pure breed intended for the kind of farm we are starting.
Instead of picking a breed and then searching for good breeders, I’ve done the opposite – I’ve picked a great breeder and concluded that the breed meets my needs.
Sue Johnson has been raising Border Leicesters since the mid 1970s. She started with two 11 year old ewes, and told me that she’s been looking for straight backs and wide hips ever since. It shows. I decided to buy her ewes when I realized I couldn’t pick out any individuals in her flock that I *wouldn’t* happily own. They are beautiful and uniform, and Sue’s complete commitment to quality shows in every aspect of these sheep – right down to the color of the horn on their feet and the color of the skin on their eyes.
So we are buying 14 of them. Sue is reducing her flock significantly, and she has entrusted me to continue her progress. It’s almost like I’m adopting her children or arranging a marriage – we’ve discussed values and opinions of various practices to reassure ourselves that we are making the right choices. I’ll be calling Sue often to consult, especially when I’m trying to find rams in as limited a gene pool. I’m very grateful that she has entrusted her life’s work to us. I hope we can rise to the challenge!
Regarding the continuing CL issue, we retested and got our results on Friday. Bobolink, Moose and Marianne had the same results as before. Amid some tears, Mary Lake dispatched Bobolink today. She had a cyst forming, and we just couldn’t risk keeping her any longer. Her meat is edible, but it’s small consolation for the loss of a really wonderful ewe who gave and raised twins as well as amazing gray fleece every year. Happy trails, Bobolink. I’m sorry to have lost you.