Weekend before last, I attended the Katahdin registry’s annual “Expo”- this one held in Hastings, NE. I enjoyed it, and when I catch my breath, I’ll try to post some notes I took in the great seminars there.

The highlight for me, however, was getting a chance to bid on some breeding stock with high NSIP numbers at their sale. There aren’t many people local to me who are serious about using NSIP for selection, so I don’t have a lot of access to high-scoring animals or common sires which help cross-reference and normalize data between flocks. Through the kindness of friends, I was able to “hitch hike” my sheep back through two legs: to a friend’s house in Montana, and then a fellow Washingtonian traveling there to pick up a ram took my sheep back home with him.

I spent quite a bit of time studying all the metrics in the sale catalog, and making notes in a big spreadsheet on the sheep I wanted the most. I bought three ewes from Birch Cove Farm in Missouri, and a ewe and a ram from Thistle Grove Farm in Iowa. I picked them up Saturday night on the way home from a wedding. I was worried they’d be stressed from 2+ weeks of travel with different people caring for them. But they were very casual. I transport sheep in my cargo van. On the way home, one of the ewes was especially friendly, and she kept “talking” to me in a solicitous voice, hanging out between the front seats next to me, making eye contact, and sniffing me. I had haltered the ram and tied him close to the wall to prevent any hanky panky. He was still attempting to mount the ewes. Hopefully not successfully! In love

They are all settled into the barn and will hang out there for a few weeks in quarantine, and until I can get them OPP tested, along with some other incoming ewes arriving in the next week. They met the resident chicken, and learned that if you are rude to him, he will peck you in the nose, and it hurts! I love their body language, interspecies communication, and the mutual respect two very different animals can learn to have for each other!

Chicken1

Chicken2

Chicken3

 

Here is a snippet of the spreadsheet which helped me ponder all of the available sale options, as well as some private treaty options people were willing to bring to me: 

 

spreadsheet

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