Alberta, Canada BLU member Jody McLean shares a photo of some of her 2 month old lambs produced by LAI from Myfyrian(B10) Blue Dragon E+, owned by Matt Drummond. Right now, this semen is only available for use in Canada, but the Blue Alliance has also purchased semen, and is working toward getting it imported to the US for the use of our membership. Jody is thrilled with her lambs. I can see why – look at the muscling on these 2 young rams!
This is a photo shared by Matt Drummond of Blue Dragon as a ram lamb. The breeder is Merfyn Roberts of the well regarded Myfyrian flock.
And here is Blue Dragon as an adult, being classified Elite Plus at the 2010 Penrith Progeny Show.
The sheep show rules and entry forms are now available. Please read over carefully, and if you have any questions, email or call the contact number. Sheep+Show+Entries+&+Rules
The forms are available online now. Click on the “About BLU” dropdown box above, then on the “National Show Info”. You can download/print the contest forms. Please share these with all interested parties! The Sheep Show forms will be available soon – just working out the “bugs” in the rules section.
We are holding a meeting for those interested in hearing about the Bluefaced Leicester Association Performance Recording Scheme and our new “Performance Mule” initiative for the promotion of Mules sired by high index Bluefaced Leicester sires.
The “Performance Mule” initiative will help us supply the ever growing market for commercial ewes sired by high index rams that we are losing out on at the present time to our competitors.
This meeting is taking place at The Auctioneer, Borderway Mart, Carlisle on Tuesday 14th February, 2012 at 7.00p.m.
The main focus of the meeting will be a power point presentation given by Sam Boon of Signet this will be to show and discuss the benefits of Performance Recording in Bluefaced Leicester’s. We anticipate an increased demand for performance recorded Bluefaced Leicester’s with the launch of a recorded mule certification scheme.
We would encourage as many members as possible to attend this meeting.
If you would like to discuss this further please contact Matt Drummond on his mobile 07771934071 or contact myself on 07887 891678.
Breed Development Chairman
***A group of US breeders have imported semen from performance recorded rams from both Mr Roberts and Mr Drummond. The Bluefaced Leicester Union of North America encourages our members to use this data collected on UK rams as part of the criteria in selecting top sires for collection and import.
BLU board member Jared Lloyd was recently interviewed for a Sheep Industry News article. The article focuses on his flock expansion using Shetland and BFL genetics in a large western commercial flock. http://sheepindustrynews.org/?page=site%2Ftext&nav_id=3b79b0fae814183646395f41f85dc25e&archive_id
From Jill Johnson, Boyd, WI
My boys, Blake(age 11) and Tyler(age 9), have 15 BFLs. BLU members LeeAnne & Weldon Richert (Cable, WI) have helped them get started with a nice little flock. The boys make management decisions for their flock with a little help from us. They are also involved with the care and management of our 50+ ewe Cormo flock. They also enjoy helping with the marketing of our wool and help with educational presentations on sheep and wool.
Blake and Tyler had an exciting weekend during the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Blake won champion youth fleece, champion natural colored fleece, and ultimately reserve supreme champion fleece with a natural colored Bluefaced Leicester fleece.
The fleece was the lamb fleece of RiverWinds 255 Muffy.
Blake and Tyler also exhibited the champion Natural colored ewe, RiverWinds 254 Miffy,(twin to Muffy) at the Great Lakes BFL show at WSWF. They also exhibited the reserve champion colored BFL ram and reserve champion white BFL ewe.
Tyler and his reserve champion white BFL ewe
To continue with my motherly bragging they also placed 1st and 3rd in the beginner division of the Youth sweepstakes held at the festival. The sweepstakes is a points competition based on all the youth activies at the festival. In all they had a good weekend.
Blake and his champion natural colored BFL ewe
Blake has shown his BFLs at our county fair for 3 years introducing something other than a Suffolk. Both boys have shown at WSWF for the last 3 years in the Great Lakes BFL show and the Junior show. Last year Blake actually showed the reserve supreme champion wool breed of the junior show with his white BFL yearling. Tyler has also had success in fleece competitions last year he exhibited the reserve champion white fleece at
Shepherd’s Harvest (Minnesota’s main sheep and wool festival)in a competition with more than 100 fleeces and then sold that fleece for $100 at silent auction.
Comments from fleece Judge Letty Klein: Out of about 130 fleece entries, there was one BFL, a natural colored one. It was stunning! I placed it 1st in the NC long wool class, then Champion NC
Division. Well, I then made the fleece Reserve Supreme over all the fleeces.
Photos by LeeAnne Richert
From BLU member Nancy Gilkeson
Well I want to share a shocking event with you all! My daughter Christie talked me into taking two BFL ewe lambs to show in open class at the Douglas County (Oregon) fair which is going on now. It was the first time ever for me to show at fair and only 2nd time ever to show my sheep. I have enjoyed that process by the granddaughters for a handful of years.
Our county has quite a few sheep but primarily the meat breeds who show there. Very few wool or dual use breeds are shown and so these all end up in “other” category. We showed along side the Shetlands.
My oldest BFL ewe lamb was nice and won first in the class with the younger lamb in third place out of five. Not much verification for me that “Jenny” is indeed wonderful but of course nice to get blue and Champion ribbons on her.
The thriller came when all champion ewes and ewe lambs from all the other classes (Suffolk, Dorset, Horned Dorset, St Croix, Cheviot, North Country Cheviot, Southdown, etc) were in the ring and the judge chose our BFL ewe lamb as Grand Champion Ewe in Open Class!!! Christie had said not to expect much with that Champion round as the top sheep in meat breeds are tough to compete against.
I could not be more thrilled with this win!!!
By Kathleen Davidson
To a shepherd, homegrown fiber is priceless so sending it off to be processed can be stressful, to say the least. All the effort in growing and harvesting our wool should be reflected in the perfect processed product. But sometimes the returned product doesn’t meet our expectations.
What went wrong? Hopefully I give give some helpful hints to prevent surprise or catastrophe with your fiber. Lessons I learned by mistakes in my 25 years of fiber processing.
LESSON 1: Be very specific about what you want and label all the bags of wool in the box. One time I sent 5 batches of dyed wool for roving expecting 5 batches of roving to be returned. To my surprise, all 5 batches had been carded into one big technicolor cloud. I thought I had labeled everything clearly enough but I guess there was ambiguity somewhere.
LESSON 2: Even thought it costs more,separate boxes could be a good idea. Years ago I stuffed my precious Targhee fleeces that I had accumulated for 3 years in a box with Romney fleeces. Yup, they were carded together even though my directions clearly said, make Targhee roving and Romney roving.
Don’t assume the processor knows breed characteristics in fiber. Label, label, label.
LESSON 3: To wash or not to wash before shipping. You will save both shipping and processing money sending washed fiber if you can get it done at home but don’t be surprised if your fiber is rewashed at the mill because it was “sticky”. Mills value their expensive equipment and sticky fleeces can do damage.
Test your washed fiber by letting it sit in the sun for a day. If it feels sticky it will need to be washed again. Rewashing at the mill is sometimes a surprise expense but not a bad thing for the final product.
LESSON 4: Pick through your fleeces, removing as much vegetation as possible. A lot of vegetation falls out in picking and carding but if there is too much it will show up in your yarn. Check fleeces for weak tips and breaks.
It hurts to toss a fleece from your favorite ewe but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and chalk this year’s fleece up as a loss if it has weakness that will ruin a yarn run.
LESSON 5: Check the mill’s minimum weight requirements. These vary. Make sure you send enough fiber to meet the requirements. Calculate for loss in washing and carding. I usually send 32 pounds of greasy wool to make 15 pounds of yarn.
Some mills will call you if you need to send more fiber but others will just charge the minimum rate and surprise you with fewer skeins and a bigger bill. There are mills with no minimum weights for processing if you only want a few fleeces turned into yarn.
LESSON 6: Talk to the folks at the mill and tell them how you want your yarn to finish. Discuss weight, yards per skein, ply and whether you want it in cones or skeins. Don’t be surprised if you get a different weight than you had hoped for. Be flexible.
One mill I use lets the wool “tell her how it wants to be spun”. Another mill surprised me with the most gorgeous bouncy BFL yarn I have ever felt. The people that run the mills know the process much better than I do so I give them creative power with my fiber. I have never been disappointed.
The best thing to do is look at the yarn of other breeders. Buy a skein or two and knit with it. When you find the yarn that works for you ask who their processor is. Some breeders sell soft lofty skein while others have a more crisp yarn for definition of cables and Aran patterns.
It’s all what you like and want your yarn to be. I use 3 different mills and although they spin different yarns for me, I would recommend all of them. Ask me about my yarn anytime!