Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To Be Ag or Not.

As a relatively new Shetland breeder who hated anything science related in school, esp. when it came to understanding DNA & genetics (hence that is why I am a history teacher); I am working slowly to understand the many different components of Shetland sheep. One of the things I am working on understanding is the whole Ag and modified concept. I have spent much time reading through the NASSA on modified, colors, fleece types etc. I am getting there......slowly.
Let me present what I have been thinking about and observing.

Pictured above is Windswept Betsy, a musket ewe with markings labeled as Blet/Biel/Flec. Betsy is out of a blk/wh ram & a moorit ewe. These are Betsy's kids born on 4/19/09. When the ewe lamb was born I would have said she was a dark brown w/smirslet markings. The white lamb is a ram lamb.
This is the same ewe lamb as of 7/1/09.........gee, quite a change in the coloring. So while I was reading the NASSA website on the modified Shetland cases, I was noticing that some lambs that looked just like this were labeled as moorit......some were labeled as mioget????

This is her fleece.......I have never had a lamb with this type of fleece!! I think this is the most exquisite fleece and it is so soft!! I just love it!!! Okay, I am sure I am not saying this politically correct in Shetland terminology so please tell me the correct way to label this fleece.
This ewe would be labeled as Ag correct? Modified? Moorit or mioget?

This is the ewe's twin.......a white ram, a yuglet/flecket correct? Now, how can one tell or is it possible for a white sheep to be Ag or is it just given because they are white? I can say that Betsy, the twins dam, is Ag. Her facial coloring changes completely from summer to winter.
These may appear to be simple concepts for seasoned Shetland sheep breeders; but I am trying to sort through the lambs that I have and what they could produce in the future.
Besides Abigail's beautiful ram lamb, both of these lambs here have the type of fleece texture I think I like the most.
Anyways, I just wanted to share some of my lambs and possibly get some feedback from those that better understand the in's & out's of Ag & modified in the Shetlands:)


Rayna said...

Ag would be the correct term...modified wouldn't be THAT drastic. :) I can't see her nose in the photo, but when she was a baby, did she have white lips? Ag lambs typically have "sugar lips" when they're born. Good way to tell :) Ag are typically softer than solid colored sheep too, though someone more into the genetics and physics of the wool would be more able to tell you why that is the case. As for the ram lamb, he isn't a white, he is actually just a heavily spotted moorit. I would probably call him a moorit yuglet blaeget maybe. As for Ag or modified, part the fleece where his colored spots are, and see if you see the same change in him as you do in your ewe lamb :)

Juliann said...

Hi Kristi,

The ewe lamb is musket (Ag). The modified colors are more subtle, and one of the parents has to carry modified for a lamb to get it.
The ram lamb will be harder to tell, as the telling parts of his body are covered by the white spotting. Rayna is right, your lamb is brown, covered by a large white spot, and you'll have to part one of his little spots to see if fading is coming in.
He's not genetically white (Awt).

Garrett808 said...

gosh these two smart ladies beat me to the punch!!

He is not white as they stated but one big white spot of a moorit ram :) I have a white ram if you really want one ;)

I can't wait to meet you at WR! Come introduce yourself...I"ll be set up with Joanne and Ferris!

Angela Rountree said...

I agree with Rayna's and Juliann's explanation of Ag and spotting. For the "modified" part, I think the birth color and adult colors are the most useful bits of information. At birth, the miogets/fawns are a "milk chocolate" brown, while the moorits are "dark chocolate" brown and the muskets are "dark" chocolate with "sugar lips". As adults, the muskets look like your mother ewe, the moorits are also easy to identify. The miogets are a golden or "brassy" color, and the fawns are a light taupe-ish shade. I think it is hard to identify colors at this age, because all the brown lambs are changing colors to some extent.

kristi said...

she does have sugar lips & so does her mom! Thank you so much for your insight & comments. I have been gone most of the day so I will check the ram lambs spots tomorrow! Glad I asked about him....a heavily spotted moorit, good grief I was wrong:)I am going to check into the blaeget also!

See I guess I was basing the musket color from her mom and because of the coloring would have not labeled it that way and I was really looking at the colors on the NASSA sight too. So much to learn!!

I just never would have thought of him as one big white spot! I appreciated it so much when individuals are willing to lend a comment or 2:) I will be at WR, perhaps, depending on how long your stay is you could come & see my sheep and provide some insight. I am only about 30 min. from the show area:)

You are so right, I can't believe how much the some of the lambs are changing color! The ram lamb that Kara is buying has turned a beautiful golden color and his mom is honey colored mioget. Thank you for stopping by & providing your is very appreciated:)

Juliann said...

Okay, what is WR?

Tammy said...

Well, everyone beat me to it too! ha.. It's interesting to read the comments though, as I'm still a little shaky on the modifieds. One thing though is if Betsy is musket then she can't be out of solid parents (blk/white & moorit)---one of them would need to be Ag as it is a dominant trait. There is some kind of extension gene, but I have no idea how it works or what it applies to. General rule is that if the lamb is Ag then one of the parents has to be . Also if you look around your ram lamb's eyes, if he has grey/white hairs rimming the inside he is probably Ag too. Have a great summer OFF! (Not that I'm bitter...;-)

kristi said...

LOL, WR stands for Western Reserve and it is the Cardigan Welsh Corgis CLub that is holding the Cardigan regionals here in Ohio and Garrett is venturing to OH for it. I will also have my Cardigana entered in the show. I checked out the "moorit" ram who is a big white spot (LOL) and he is Ag also as his moorit fleece looks just like hers when it is separated. So I guess I have my first Ag ram:)

its good to hear from you!! On Betsy's papers, Heather at Windswept has the sire listed as a blk/wh & the dam as moorit. So perhaps it is the moorit one? I really love the Ag colored fleece and how soft it is:) I wish it felt like summer here, it has been very cool, only in the mid-60's but as long as I am home, I won't complain:)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Kristi, Betsy could have inherited Ag from either one of her parents. A lot of Ag lambs are born flashy black and white spotted, and some muskets are slower to fade than others. So either of them could have been registered according to what they looked like at birth, before the Ag gene "did its work." And yes, those Ag lambs have the most beautiful fleece! Unfortunately, it is their "once-in-a-lifetime" fleece; the vast majority lighten up and STAY light the rest of their lives.