Lamb fleeces are always so wonderfully soft, unfortunately it can be hard to tell from a lamb fleece what the adult fleece is going to be like. They are never as soft after the first year, of course, but its hard for a beginner shepherd like myself to anticipate what other changes will happen. You may ask, why not just wait and see? Whats the hurry? Well, in the case of my year old ewes their lamb fleece is what I’ll use to decide whether to keep them for breeding or sell them. Last year we had three ewe lambs. One is sold already (Lana), but part of my agreement to sell her was that I got to keep the lamb fleece.
I haven’t completely made up my mind yet about the other two- LeeLoo and Liisu. LeeLoo is Francine’s daughter and I know for certain that I won’t be re-breeding Francine. She is just too rough and hairy. I hadn’t planned to breed LeeLoo for that reason, but her lamb fleece turned out surprisingly nice so now I’m having second thoughts…
I’m pretty sure that Liisu will be part of my breeding program. Her mom is Kelly and her grandma is Elizabeth and that is the genetic line that I am basing my breeding program on. Right now her fleece is SUPER soft and reminds me a lot of her mom’s lamb fleece. Kelly’s yearling fleece turned out very nice as well, so if Liisu takes after her mom next year I’ll be satisfied. Obviously there is still room for improvement, but that is something that will happen gradually over time as we use nicer stud rams.
If you have experience with fleeces, or with breeding sheep, I’d love to hear your thoughts on LeeLoo and Liisu’s lamb fleeces!