Breeding Flock for 2021 Lambing Season
We breed landrace sheep with focus on fiber and dairy qualities, as well as ability to produce well in our high-altitude, cold climate. Our wool flock has changed a lot in the last year and thus our goals are shifting. Our dairy sheep breeding goals are to keep good dairy production while increasing the hardiness for our climate, as well as improving the quality of their fleece to make the fleece soft enough to be suitable for items close to the skin.
Nilsson is a 6-year-old Bond ram from the Gleason farm in Lyons, Colorado. The Gleasons originally imported the Bond breed to America in 2000. They have been carefully breeding the Bonds to preserve the great fleece qualities of this breed. Nilsson’s fleece is amazing and has won several champion ribbons. He bred our wool ewes for 2021, and we are planning to expand the Bond flock significantly over the coming years.
Remi is a white, East Friesian/Lacaune dairy ram. He was born in 2019 at The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado. They have been breeding dairy sheep for many years, perfecting their lines. He was a single lamb and has a surprisingly soft fleece. We used him for breeding on some of our ewes during the 2020 lambing season and were happy with his offspring. This year we covered our Wensleydale ewe, Freya, and one of the dairy ewes, Daisy, with Remi.
Daisy is an East Friesian/Lacaune dairy ewe. She was born in 2019 at The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado. She is a very outgoing and friendly sheep and will come right to us for attention any time she can. She is white, with a very dense fleece that has nice crimp. Her fleece is too rough for yarn that is going to be used for items touching the skin, so we like to use her fleece for rug-making. She was a triplet, born to one of the Living Farm’s top-producing dairy ewes. 2020 was her first lambing year and she gave birth to a single ewe-lamb sired by our wool ram, Fergus. She was an excellent milk producer, giving us 1 quart of milk a day while still nursing her lamb 12 hours a day. We are hoping to get her good dairy production but with a softer fleece in her offspring by crossing her. For the 2021 year she was bred to Remi, the dairy ram and produced twins in February – a ram and a ewe. Due to things going on in our life this spring, we have not been milking her this season and thus do not have production numbers for her second season.
“Blue” is an East Friesian/Cotswold dairy ewe born in 2019 at The Living Farm. She is white with grey markings on her head and legs. Her fleece has more curl than crimp with a nice luster and surprising softness. She is a very friendly ewe, who likes being pet. She was born a twin, to one of The Living Farm’s top ewes. 2020 was her first lambing/milking season. She gave birth to a single ewe lamb and was our best milk producer, giving us over 1 quart of milk a day while still nursing her lamb 12 hours each day. She was crossed to our wool ram, Nilsson, for the 2021 lambing season and is due in June. We are looking forward to seeing how her milk production does for her second season.
Nora is a white ewe lamb born here at Willow Creek Farm in the spring of 2020. Her mother is our dairy ewe, Daisy, and her father was our wool ram, Fergus. She is our first attempt at crossing wool over dairy in hopes of still getting good milk production while improving the fleece qualities. Her fleece in 2021 proved that we did improve the quality and softness compared to her mother’s fleece. We wont know about her dairy qualities until she lambs later this year. She is pretty much an exact twin of her mother, to the point of not being able to tell them apart without a closer look. But with a softer fleece. She is very friendly and sweet. She was bred to our wool ram, Nilsson for the 2021 lambing season and is due in June.
Freya is a registered Wensleydale ewe. She is what we like to call “pewter” colored, black with silver highlights along the body. She has an amazing, long-wool fleece with luster and locks. She is so very friendly and loves being pet. She was born in 2018 and has lambed twins twice. She joined our farm in the summer of 2020, so this will be our first breeding/lambing season with her. When we got her she had just been with her 3-month-old lambs, so we decided to milk her a bit when she first came to see how she did. She had never been in a stanchion before, let alone been milked. She did very well and was a surprisingly good producer. We are excited about this potential for a good wool and dairy producing ewe. We bred her to Remi, our dairy ram, for the 2021 lambing season, but due to the wildfire evacuations in November of 2020, she miscarried. We are hopeful that maybe she got pregnant by our wool ram, Nilsson, in December or January, which would put her due in June-ish. Time will tell if she will be lambing in the 2021 season.
Matilda is a Bond ewe from the Gleason farm in Lyons, Colorado. The Gleasons originally imported the Bond breed to America in 2000. They have been carefully breeding the Bonds to preserve the great fleece qualities of this breed. Matilda is a beautiful example of a Bond ewe and will be the foundation ewe as we expand our Bond flock. She was bred to our Nilsson, and is due to lamb late in May 2021.