sheep

The Wool Journey Part 4: Wool Attributes Amongst Breeds, Natural Colour and Health

Sonja Bargielowska's picture
23 August, 2017 - 14:00 | Sonja Bargielowska

Here we look at three important aspects of fleece and fibre: consistency/style, colour and animal health.

Consistency varies considerably between different breeds, within the breed and across the animal. We can have Gotland sheep, all of which have lustre longwool, with wide variations of thickness and crimp between different animals and a range of these across the body of an individual.

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Glistening Gotland

Sonja Bargielowska's picture
26 July, 2017 - 15:39 | Sonja Bargielowska

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Here at Blacker Yarns we try not to have favourites amongst the sheep breeds, but Gotland sheep do have a rather special place in our hearts. Perhaps because they’re the sheep Sue Blacker herself keeps?

We’re really excited to be launching a brand new colour palette in our 100% Gotland DK yarn on August 9th, and thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about this very special breed in more detail.

The Wool Journey Part 3: wool attributes – length, crimp and lustre

Sonja Bargielowska's picture
12 July, 2017 - 16:43 | Sonja Bargielowska

Length is less relevant to the processor than to the breeder!  After all, the breeder will be expecting to show animals in full fleece in all their glory, while the processor has to sort out the fibres and put them through machines.  So the processor can rely on some fibres breaking as they are processed and also may chop up some fibre to make it more usable, particularly if it is thick and strong.  A hand-spinner might wish to spin individual long locks together and craft workers may use individual locks as part of a design (e.g. wedding dress).

Introducing our new BFL laceweight colour palette

Sonja Bargielowska's picture
5 July, 2017 - 14:01 | Sonja Bargielowska

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The Bluefaced Leicester is a noble breed, originating from selective breeding in the early twentieth century by Robert Bakewell, specifically hand-picked for their “blue faces”, referring to their very dark blue, almost black skin. The sheep themselves are friendly in nature, while their Roman noses provide an air of aristocracy. 

Food for mums and babies: nutrition at lambing

Sue Blacker's picture
9 March, 2017 - 10:52 | Sue Blacker

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Lambs double in size in the last month in the ewe, which is a real challenge to the ewe to keep up with this as well as the additional situation of less room inside!   So feeding more frequently, twice or even three times a day, will regulate intake better and make it more effective.   Insufficient food can lead to dead lambs, or ewes, or twin lamb disease, poor quality colostrum and lower milk production.  Too much concentrated food can reduce the pH in the rumen, so quality is as important as quantity, and forage is key, with concentrates as a supplement.   Added yeast has been shown to be useful in improving colostrum quality and reduces the build-up of lactic acid in the rumen, which helps increase milk yield and quality.

Is it all in the soil?

Sue Blacker's picture
9 March, 2017 - 10:46 | Sue Blacker

 

 

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Soil Photo from Emaze.com

We know that the correct minerals and trace elements are essential for good health of sheep, goats and alpacas – but how do we know what to do about this?

Firstly we need soil tests.  These are easier than you might think – you should take about 30 samples diagonally across the field, mix in a bucket to get a representative sample of the whole field then put some in a bag to post off for a soil test.  Ideally, soil testing should be done every two years, as rain, grazing and hay or silage cutting will all affect the soil balance.

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enquiries@blackeryarns.co.uk | +44 (0) 1566 777 635

 

The Natural Fibre Company

enquiries@thenaturalfibre.co.uk | +44 (0) 1566 777 635