Monday, April 11, 2011

Time for Sheep

Our girls have shown market animals in 4-H for many years.  We started out in the hog project, but moved to sheep because at our fair the hogs and horses are shown the same day.  We live in Marathon County in Wisconsin.  Our county fair has an excellent market animal program.  We have many first class breeders in our county.  Our friends actually have world class angus beef.  These 2 families have shown their cattle all over the U.S.  They have world, regional, national, state and county grand and reserve grand champions.   Another breeder family in our county has excellent sheep and hogs.  This family has won multiple state and county grand and reserve grand champions with both sheep and hogs.  So, needless to say, the competiton within our county fair is pretty stiff.   Marathon county 4-H kids are so blessed to have an opportunity to purchase such quality project animals so close to home.   

Last year, we decided to go over to the UW River Falls for the Indianhead Sheep Breeders auction.  We just wanted to bring something different over to our county fair.  This is nearly a 3 hour drive to buy some sheep.  Anyway, our oldest daughter, Justine, had decided that this was going to be her last year showing a market animal.  Well, last year she did win the grand champion sheep in the carcass contest.  It was so exciting because there are only 2 grand champions per species.  She was so excited to end her 4-H career in the market animal project with some "hardware".   The buyer actually gave her the plaque - that was really nice of her! 

Anna, our youngest, is still in the market program, so we went over to the auction again this year.  It was last Sunday.  We drove over to River Falls again (thru snowy conditions) to pick out her sheep.  When we arrived, she picked these two right away.  They are what is know as speckled face sheep - a Dorset cross.   She took them out and handled them, set them up to make sure they were natural bracers and based her decision on their "cuteness"  I don't think Dorset cross do well in market classes because they are a little smaller.  She wanted them, so she bid on these two.  The breeder is from Plainview, MN.

This is freckles and speckles.....

I had NO intention of purchasing any more sheep.....neither did Al.  But, he let us buy another one.  She is soooo cute and tiny.....she is a registered Suffolk ewe lamb.  Anna and I couldn't help it, she was too cute.  Anna really likes to show the sheep.  Our sheep leader's family has let Anna show some of their sheep at other shows and she has done pretty good.  She wanted to get a "showmanship" animal.  One that you work with more than just for one season.  This ewe will be shown in a breed class, not a market class.  Anna has been out there everyday - even getting up 30 minutes early before school - working with them.  She really wants to do good this year.  She carries this little ewe around like a baby....this is "dotty"

So, I guess we have a ewe now....

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