News from the Paddock
Our breeding numbers
We have continued to rapidly increase our numbers because the breed is so fertile and prolific. Most of the ewes that are naturally mated have twins, the mature ewes achieved 173% this year and the 12 month old ewe lambs are currently lambing.
We are also using Embryo Transfer technology. We average 15 top grade embryos per ile de France ewe programmed (including 6 month old ewe lambs). The large numbers of lambs we are producing enable us to ensure only sheep with excellent muscle, growth rates and physically sound traits are selected to be bred from. We weigh the lambs at birth, 3, 6 and 9 months of age, ultrasound for muscle and fat diameter and enter all data to Lambplan for analysis. We use visual judgment and actual and EBV data analysis when selecting sheep available for sale and to remain in our stud. Rob is determined to ensure that only sound, high quality stud ewes will be used in the stud breeding program.
We currently have 34 mature ewes, 40 ewe hoggets, and 132 lambs that are pure Ile de France.
We will have about 30 pure ile de France rams, 20 pure Suffolk rams available for sale this year. We are planning to take 5 Idf and 5 Suffolk rams to the Darkan sale on the 15/10/13 and on farm purchasing will be available from that afternoon onwards.
Merino x Ile de France ewe dam
We wanted to put the constitution of our F1s to the test so we ran them much harder than the pure merino ewes this past 12 months. We proved that the F1 mo x idf was much more efficient at food conversion. All of our F1 ewes maintained their condition score 2 + over the past 12 months whilst being hand fed much less than the pure merino ewes and put in paddocks with poorer feed availability. The merino ewes lost condition even though they had better paddocks and more hand fed lupins and barley. The f1 ewes turned out 126% lambing from mated numbers and the wool micron was about 21.7.. We currently have 12 month old F1 ewe lambs, lambing and they are coping really well and their lambs look great.
What a busy year it has been! time has flown by incredibly quickly - so fast and so busy we have not had a chance to get ourselves into any exciting mischief at all! Although no mischief entertains us, just now there is plenty of excitement over our rams. The phone has been running hot these past 2 months with genuine interest in the ile de france and suffolk boys. Both breeds sold for very good money at the Darkan sale. We topped the average price at the sale with our idfs again this year and given the terrific quality of all the different breeds of terminal and maternal rams at the sale we are very happy campers indeed! We only have 5 suffolk and 3 ile de france rams left available for sale so it you’re interested then you best get on the phone to us now! I promise you will not be disappointed.
Young ram and ewe lambs are looking fantastic the merino recips did a good job of rearing this years pure ile de france lambs, so we looking forward to offering plenty of quality ile de france and suffolk rams next year.
Things are looking up for us, our existing and new clients are pleased with our rams and happy to have spent reasonable money on them, even though our wise and clever government have successfully nigh on destroyed our prime lamb industry and have left us with a glutton of prime lambs with no where to go even at ridiculously low prices. Have faith everyone - our country and world still want to eat meat and we just need to encourage everyone to support us all by nibbling on more lamb. Hold on tight farmers we will get through this and prosper in this industry again. Let all extreme animal junkies get taken out by their pets and karma teach them assholes a message about screwing with the lively hoods and mental health of thousands of farmers who do care for and respect their animals.
Took Suffolk and Ile de france rams and lambs out to Newdegate field day to display. Received a very positive reception by farmers over there.
Flew to Vic, enjoyed the Hamilton Sheep Vention and followed onto Trevor Troeths place, had a great time looking through his very tidy flock of idfs and picked out a sound well balanced sire and semen to bring back home.
OH MY GOODNESS! WHERE IS THE YEAR GOING?
VERY BUSY PICKING AFGAN MELONS -there are millions given the summer rains.
sheep are looking fantastic. took team of 22 to woolorama, still heaps of interest, everyone seamed or mentioned how impressed they were with our Suffolk, ile de france, french suffolk (ile de france x suffolk) and our F1s (merino x ile de france) WOW - got lots of ph numbers of potential new clients. All looking very pleasing indeed.
completed very successful et program, did 10 - 18month olds ewes, averaged 10 top grade embryos from each. Now we pray the recips hang onto them.
later in nov 2011
Got the ram back - poor bastard suffered hidden beneath bushes for a week. got him home, he tried very hard to fight but in the end after much nurturing and meds he just couldn’t fight anymore - may he rest in peace.
still nov 2011
OH Shit we lost a Ile de France ram!! Bloody gate opened on ute crate whilst Rob was on the road heading for Narrogin. Got to crn Albany hwy and Tarwonga turn off and discovered we were short one ram and the open gate!! Bugger F*********** Poor bastard is somewhere between moodiarrup and there! Went searching but had no luck. Very very sad and frustrated. Kids weren’t happy about helping hunt him down until i explained he was worth $1000 and they’d be missing out on treats if we didn’t get him back.
So we are praying for a call from his savior so we can deliver him home. Hey if you find him we are offering a reward.
I guess the upside of this is that being a tough and randy breed he is probably in having a ball amongst a mob of ewes (hopefully not super fine merinos!) and the farmer will see all the terrific meaty lambs from him running around his paddock in April and decide that our Ile de France are awesome and come on down and buy more and tell his mates and send them to! - Well you got to be positive......
wow! where has the year gone?
Have had a huge year this year - certainly a much better season than we have had for about 10 years here. The spring has been wet and warm - just the way the crop and pasture like - and boy do they like it - they are going and bulking up so fast we can almost see it in action! We have more pasture this year than ever. Should make for happy sheep. The suffolk cross lambs certainly enjoyed the feast and are all now being feasted upon by happy eaters! Sold the whole lot at 3-4 months of age last month for very handy money.
Still have the Ile de France cross lambs. Keeping the ewes for prime lamb dams and holding the whethers for a few more weeks to gain a few more kgs as we intend to send them to WAMMCO and enter the prime lamb comp - we reckon they should do pretty well.
A horny suffolk ram got to the F! hogget ewes 5 months back and we now have a few new born lambs in the F! flock - they all look great. We will probably mate all the F1s at 7 months of age this year as they have grown very quickly and are looking very impressive - we are sure they will handle it without any dramas.
Took 6 Suffolk and 4 Ile de France rams to Darkan Stud Breeders ram sale last week. We were absolutely stoked to discover that our Suffolk rams looked fantastic compared to all the others and our Ile de France rams were clearly the biggest and most well muscled sheep in the shed. It was such a blast to have so many people coming up congratulating us on our sheep.
We picked up a few more clients for our suffolk and the ile de france topped the sale - not bad given they are the first registered to be auctioned in wa.
Took Ile de France to Williams Expo. Again got a great response. Have now sold a numbber of pregnancies and some semen. Very confident that our ram sales will go well.
Took Ile de France to Woolorama and wow what an amazing positive response! Rob and I were flat out all day for both days showing off the sheep and educating people about the breed. Nearly everyone we spoke to were really impressed with the great hindquarter and the over all carcass of the sheep - many found it hard to believe that they were a maternal breed.
27 Dec 2010
Nearly finished harvest! it has been a very trying season - in fact the worst season in living history in our area. Our crops have been very disappointing, we knew we would have little to harvest due to the complete lack of rain over winter but we are still frustrated to find such a small amount of canola, barley and oats out there for us to harvest. At least our silos are full so the stock will have feed - though given the lack of pasture out there we will still have to buy more feed in.
ON the up side of life we at least (unlike many around us) have plenty of stock water so our livestock will be ok. Most farmers in our shire and most shires around us have had to sell off most of their sheep and cows because they do not have the feed or water to supply them. Luckily sheep prices have been excellent this year and this has been the one thing saving many farmers from being forced to sell up.
The studs have coped well with the extremely poor paddock conditions. We ended up putting them on lick feeders as there has been very little pasture for them to eat.
We have been enthusiastically checking and weighing our stud lambs and have been really impressed and enthused by the fantastic data we have collected. the ile de france lambs from the ET programs have coped exceptionally well especially given the poor paddock conditions and merino recips. Click our stats pages to see our great growth rates etc
7th December 2010
Completed our 3rd Ile de France ET program today. Wow what awesome results - I am bouncing with joy and excitement!! Simon ended up deciding to fully program and flush the ile de france ewe lamb. We got 7 top grade viable embryos from her - that is fantastic given that most mature ewes will going give that many and she is now only 7 month old! Just as exciting our mature ewe gave us 17 - yes 17 viable embryos! Woopy! Now we have the great problem of where to put them all - we only programed 12 ewes and need to find another 12 from somewhere. Thank goodness Simon has some spare recips he owns and has left over that were programed for another client so we used those and Ray Batt has a few spare recips and has kindly allowed us to implant our embryos into his. It was all panic stations there for a bit but i am so pleased it has all turned out well.
3rd November 2010
Today we sent one of our ile de france ewes - the ‘Jolly Jumper’ (we didn’t get her in lamb naturally) and one of the young ewe lambs from the 1st drop, down to Simon Bell at Breed tech to be setup for the next ET program. WE had a bit of trouble deciding which lamb to send as they were very even in size and weight. We chose a nice ewe lamb, belonging to the ewe we lost last month. She is about 6 1/2 months old and 60kg, this is still very young to program a sheep for an et program and Simon Bell may not program her because of her young age. We just have to wait and see. Ray Batt wants to use semen from our ram “macca” so he is going to call in and pick up our ram and ewes on his way down to Breedtech with his ewes. Simon will run and program our ewes together.
Simon was pretty impressed with our lamb, but a little dubious about programing her because of her age - he is going to get her cycling anyway so she is well prepared for next program.
We lost one of our adult ewes in September - we think she found some poison through the fence and she died. She had 2 day old twin lambs, when we found her the ram lamb had died but the little ewe lamb was still alive so we took her home and hand reared her. Kids thought it was terrific for the 1st week and now they are not wanting a bar of the job and caring for her. We are giving her 3 feeds of lamb milk a day. Yet another job for me to do!.
haven’t had any rain to speak off since early August and it is warm. I should be cool and pouring with rain this time of year. All of our crops are dying off very fast and there is very little pasture in the paddocks. WE are really worried. If we don’t get a good finish with lots of rain we are not going to get enough grain for sheep feed never lone to sell.
Suffolk have finished lambing and the ewes have had an amazing number of twin lambs this year and considering their paddock is bare due to the lack of rain they are doing very very well. They started lambing quite late for some reason we are not sure of, but we are pleased they did given the season - mm I wonder if they knew it was going to be a tough one!
Simon Bell at Breed Tech flushed our 5 ewes in December 2009 and February 2010. The ewes averaged 8 high grade embryos in the first flush and 6 in the second.
Rob, Nic & Chris with our Ile de France ewes Dec 2009
We implanted the embryos into merino ewes.
The first drop of lambs were born over 5 days starting on the 28/4/10. Wow what a busy few days. We caught and tagged the lambs as they were born. Within the first week they filled out into solid and very strong lambs. We weighed them at 28 days and were thrilled to find their average weight gain was 440 grams per head per day. The pictures below show the Ile de France lambs at just 28 days.
The second group of ET lambs are due to drop about the 6/7/10.
We put our young Ile de France ram in with 119 merino ewes that had not been prepared with lupins or teasers in Feb for four weeks and 111 of the ewes were tested as pregnant – that’s a successful ram to ewe ratio of under 1%. He came out looking fresh so we put him out with another mob of ewes.
Flew to Victoria to Ile de France Australia and selected and purchased our ile de france stud ewes and rams. We have lift off! Jerolyn Ile de France has officially be founded!