Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Soggy Lambs

It has now been lashing down with rain for the last 72 hours. Not good for young lambs. This morning they tried to all fit under the stile for shelter.



Some of them were a bit cold and shivery this evening so I administered Kick-Start to those who I thought would benefit. Can't do any harm and it might help to give them a boost. Then I put extra straw down in the hut so that they can snuggle in and get warm and dry. I just hope that they all stay in there.


Interestingly it seems that those with the old fashioned longer and less crimpy fleeces are feeling the cold less than those with super fine tight crimps. Has anyone else any thoughts on this? It seems pretty obvious but it might well have a strong bearing of the type of Shetland I breed in future. I'd rather have warm healthy lambs than the very finest crimpiest fleeces; afterall, I am in Scotland now!

6 comments:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I have heard your fleece observations many times, and would agree with them myself. I have to say my very favorite type of fleece is what some call "intermediate;" much longer and less crimpy than what is called a "UK-type" fleece, but no discernible double-coat - all with a silky hand and lustrous shine. They are a dream to spin and weather well.

Mim said...

The intermediate type shetland fleece is my favorite also for the same reasons as Michelle. I've seen and heard about the single coat fleeced sheep like Merino do not fair well in rainy weather. I have even another reason to like the intermediate type fleece we are very dry in Nevada and the single soft crimpy fleeces catch all the vm that blows around like magnets! The silky smooth fleeces seem to shead most of that and are cleaner at shearing time.

Cynthia said...

I actually cannot agree about a "fleece type" but do agree that there are issues in care. I do not allow my sheep a "barn." I have a 40'long-out roof that is open on 3 sides. My sheep can come in if they wish...and they rarely do. Given extremely freezing rain they most certainly come in, but other than that, the girls much prefer to be out in weather. My goal is single-coated and -while I do love intermediates- almost all my flock is single-coated. I test all my sheep -from their first possible fleeces at 5 months and then from yearling fleeces onward- and do not work with any double-coats. Yes, I do work with many intermediate but I cannot agree that the single-coated cannot take weather. This would not be a true statement from a research point of view. I have had Wensleydales (well-known for their problems with splitting back-bone fleece and weather) and Merinos (and their problems with frigid driven rains) and cannot say that these conditions alone are the problem. I think there is much more afoot than weather and suggest that we spend some more time thinking about those possible issues. Just my opinion before folks get all heated up with labeling Shetlands once again. I don't think we need yet again another reason for NASSA to be eliminating gorgeous animals simply because no one has bothered actually caring enough to research them. UGH>

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Some people would declare that there are longer, silky fleeces that may be labeled "intermediate" but show no double coat when micron-tested, so would therefore technically be single-coated also -- just not the short, downy single-coats that some call "UK type."

Jenny Holden said...

This is an interesting discussion. I don't actually know that my lambs are "double coated" it could be that some of them simply have longer straighter "single" fleeces. It doesn't seem to have any bearing on my adult girls. All of mine, I think, are single fleeced but of varying length, crimp and softness (not tested micron counts). My very finest fleeced girls however are beginning to roo and this is a slight concern since this week we are getting sleet gales and howling rain. They don't appear bothered though and nor do lambs over 4 weeks old regardless of fleece type.

Garrett808 said...

hi Jenny :) My girls start rooing their necks in February, which is our coldest month where temperatures never get about 20F any time during the month, and lows are -30 or lower without windchill. My girls sleep in the snowbanks and welcome the snow to fall on top of them and help insulate further. I never understood why they rooed when they did...Silly girls :)