Saturday, September 26, 2020

A Tale of Two Rams


Red Raven 1889 is his registered name. He comes from Missouri.

He is an old soul. Even more sensible and easy to manage than I had hoped.  

Our first ram Samson is exceptional. He is a high dollar ram but for one small flaw. He is very nervous and attacks out of fear. The breeder showed us the rams and two stood out. His main breeding ram who was not for sale and Samson. I had studied breed standards for White Dorper and he is very near ideal. A wee bit tight behind his shoulder but I probably only noticed it because I had studied type so much.


Samson and is in the air

 Mr. Klingler was honest. He said the ram was for sale but he was nervous, he had not taken him to the big show and sale in Tennessee because the ram would have lost his mind. He also said he was from a national champion ewe and she was 10. He showed us 3 more very nice rams but not the quality of the nervous boy.

Ralph and I had budgeted 700.00 for a ram. This ram was 800.00., however he was so good...we decided to take a chance. Mr. Klingler walked up to him and caught him but you could tell the ram was getting upset. Scared not mean.

We got him home and decided to turn him in with the ewes right away. We felt the disease risk was low enough and we really wanted to keep him as calm as we could.

We called him Samson. He is truly beautiful and the Dorper breeders I talk to say he really is superior. Genetically and structurally he is about a $2000.00 ram. His nervousness was enough of an issue Mr. Klingler felt he was not suited for purebred breeders. 

He dislikes me and will charge me if he gets scared. However he loves Ralph and is so good for him.  I am always aware of where he is and I always have my stock cane when I am with the ewes.   His lambs are so good. We are very lucky to have been able to get a ram like him to start our flock. The disposition seems not to pass on. His lambs are quiet and friendly.

As you know from sire selection...finding the first good sire is a challenge..and getting the next one is even more of a challenge.

We needed a young ram who complemented Samson and who had a quiet disposition right from the start. We wanted a ram from a ewe line with longevity and udder durability, good feet and shedding at least 70%.

He had to be structurally correct and very correct over the shoulder into a wide well spring rib. Capacity with a deep body and length were also in there. I wanted a bit more butt, especially in the lower round and inside round.

The first ram we found sold for 2245.00...I had a hunch he was going to go over our budget. We kept looking and then we got our stimulus check so we upped our budget to 1000.­čś│

I looked at so many rams I had just about given up.

Then we got a notice of a sale in Missouri. Lots 3 & 4 caught my eye.

Red Raven 1889

1889 with his companions...Aberdeen and Snowball who should lamb to him in November

1889 in the Crate for the trip home.

A Sale Photo of Lot #4 (1889)

Two of the Catalogue Photos.

I had never bought online before but the  breeder was awesome and 1889 fit 90% of my requirements. His mother is 12 and has a terrific udder even now at the age she is..he is long and thick and moves well on good feet. One of the first things Andrew said about this ram #4 was how quiet and sensible he was and that the ewe was quiet.

His flaw is he is short. He will never be a huge ram. It is not an issue for us, especially when he fills all the other criteria. 

When we got him home....we had to meet the livestock hauler about an hour north of us.....1889 was so laid back. Ralph and the trucker carried him with much grunting across a parking lot and loaded him in our crate. He just accepted it. He unloaded at home with the same calm outlook.

He is a pig though...he will do absolutely anything for food. It's his obsession­čść Somehow the name Doofuss seemed to fit. 

Doofuss With his girls

Seriously can you feed me now!

Okay....I give up...I am weak with hunger but I will check the girls.

Doofuss following his girls.

We turned the Rams out with the ewes on September 21. He is settling down with his girls...they are getting used to his management style and as he gets used to his job he is becoming much gentler with the ewes. He still loves his food though...almost as much as his girls.

So goes the tale of two Rams. Samson quietly goes about his business with his ewes. He's always happier if he is out with a bigger group. We have 13 of his daughters with Doofuss. They are uniform of type and well grown. Now the next step of our journey starts with lambing in February....lambs from young ewes that were born here.

We can hardly wait. 

God Keep you safe and healthy. Be strong in the times ahead.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Yes another sheep post.

Well it had to happen. It was time to start looking for another ram. The first daughters from Samson our White Dorper ram will be old enough to breed this fall.


We have been saving money to make the purchase and had plans to tour several flocks.
This was before the Covid 19 shut down.
The resiliancy of Agriculture came through as Online Auctions suddenly became more popular.
We set our budget and got a list of characteristics we wanted in a ram.
Then we watched sales. There were a lot in Texas, too far away. Some on the west coast, too expensive. Some didn't have ram prospects that suited us so we kept looking. 
Then we found a new sale in Missouri. Called the Show Me Classic Dorper and White Dorper sale. It had a number of very nice rams. 

So we studied them, they had photos and videos as well. Finally we called the consigner of two we really liked.
Talking sheep is almost as much fun as watching them.  I enjoyed the conversation and the honest information and assessment of the rams.

So we decided Lot #4 was our number 1 pick with #3 our back up.

Sale Day was June 3rd. Online sales run all day. This one from 8 AM CST to 7 PM CST.

Ralph worked out his  plan. He would watch the sale but not bid until the very end. The waiting made me a bit crazy. Then we placed our first bid. We watched our bidder number go up as our bid was the top.

Now this sale is what is called "Racehorse Style". This means when the main sale time has run out there is a last minute bidding war.

If there was a bid on any lot in the sale 5 minutes would be added to clock. We had no idea what to expect!

Well it got crazy. At sale close our bid was top bid. Below budget, we were confident. After about 20 minutes of Racehorse bidding we were NOT  confident. Two more bids came in on Lot #4. We bid again to stay in the lead.

The budget limit was close, very close. We watched the time counter go down to 50 seconds.....boom...someone would bid on a lot and the time was back to 4:45 minutes! We found the problem, a bidding war on another ram, a very flashy Black headed Dorper with an incredible pedigree.
It took almost an hour of extra time for the ram to sell.

By then Ralph and I were nervous wrecks and had been forced to bid twice more. This time we had gone over by $30.00, not too bad but we knew as each additional bit of time was added we would not be able to bid again. 

We set to make sure if we did not succeed in getting #4 we would be rrady to bid on Lot #3. (He had not had as many bids)

Well finally we watched the counter wind down to zero.  We held our breath and suddenly were the new owners of RRA 1889, a long yearling White Dorper ram.!

So here he is:

He is arriving on Saturday, we will meet the trucker north of here and bring this handsome fellow home.

The online auction was a repreive from the insanity going on in this country.  Agriculture, with its core of hard work to earn a living seems not to have lost its mind. These sheep breeders are positive and hopeful.

I hope the tale of this purchase made you smile and know there are still people out there with values and integrity. People who are betting on the future and trusting God to show us the way.

Be safe and God Bless all of you.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sheep Obsession

We are so behind due to rain and more rain. We have been spending a lot of time watching the sheep graze and dealing with the rapid grass growth from the rain. It is a wonderful predicament after last years drought. However we are watching our hay degrade as it gets too ripe with no haying weather in sight. Yes Sheep therapy is needed.

So here we go.
12 ewes gave us 26 lambs. 24 survived and are thriving.
   Two ewes had triplets, 11 who had hers all by herself when we didnt expect her to. She was early (we suspect because of triplets, they were very small). She loves all three and is a very good Mom.
Specks was overdue and had triplets. They were all big lambs and the first one was sideways. I had to help and The first lamb was stillborn. The other two were just fine. I think perhaps I delayed too long in assisting her and will know better next time.
Barbados had twins, a lovely ewe lamb first... with a normal delivery. Her second was dead and had been for some hours. Genetics amaze me because the stillborn lamb was the true Barbados coloring of brown with black accents.

It was sad to loose two but that is the way of livestock. The joy outweighs the loss.





                           The Triplets

                  #12 and her Twins

                      There is a lot of bounding to find each other in the tall grass.

As you can see we continue to be blessed. Our health is good and we thank God everyday for our farm and the life it gives us. It keeps us physically active and gives us mental peace. We pray everyone is safe and managing with all that is taking place.

God Bless you all.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

A Bit of Normal in Crazy times.

2020 has so far been a year filled with the bizarre and disturbing. Strangely however we are finding very little changed in our day to day existance but we follow news of a world of closures, self distancing and looming food shortages.

 I love the canning and food self sufficiency Ralph and I have achieved here and our stocks of staples that we have at our fingertips. To be honest I don't think I really beleived it would be put to the test, yet here we are...thanking God for our blessings.

We have been continuing our planting and lambing is almost done. The asparagus bed gave us our first full servings of fresh spears, heavenly. Our plum trees have set fruit and the apple trees are blooming.

We have leeks and onions well started but our Irish potatos are late going in...we have had so much rain the gardens were far too wet to get into.

We naturally self isolate as there is so much to be done it keeps us healthy, happy and busy.

Will this CPP pandemic make people look at the way food is grown and sourced?

Will families take the time to actually get to know each other better?

One can only pray this is the wake up call this country needs to face perhaps its greatest challenge.

God bless you and keep you safe and healthy.