Michigan Shepherding


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This Karakul ram depicts the result of adhering to strict breed characteristics that begins with a quality birthcoat that translates to a stunning adult. Lambs — Moiré versus Pipes. The birthcoat on a new Karakul lamb is the primary indicator of breed character. There are several fat-tailed sheep in the world, but only the Karakul has been bred over many years to produce their breathtaking birthcoats. Originally these Persian Lamb pelts were for the fur industry and were brought to this country in the early 1900s for that reason. But in the 1940s or there about that industry fell out of favor. Quality birthcoats, like the ones in the photo, indicate breed pureness and integrity. The arrangement of curl style in a birthcoat forms a distinctive pattern. This set of twins depicts the lustrous, shallow or wavy moiré or waterwave pattern on the rear lamb versus a ribbed or pencil / pipe like curls on the lamb in the foreground where the curls look like they are wrapped around a pipe, from back to front. The longer the coat holds onto the tightness of the curls before they begin to open or relax the better. Three new books on color genetics are now available: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors – Combining the Art and Science of Sheep Color Genetics, by Dee Heinrich, Margaret Howard, Christan Posbergh and Melissa Wubben, 2021, by shepherds for shepherds with many “ah-ha” moments. Colored Sheep – a primer on sheep colour genetics, by Irina Bohme and Saskia Dittgen, 2019. Uses a game of cards to illustrate the genetics of color in sheep. Practical Color Genetics for Livestock Breeders, by D. Phillip Sponenberg, 2021. Includes information on color of sheep, goats, alpacas, llamas, cattle and hogs.