Friday, February 11, 2011

Black Sheep

Have you ever wondered about the origin of the saying that someone is the "black sheep" of the family? Well, back in the "old days," black sheep were considered of lesser value than white because their wool could not be dyed. Shepherds tried very hard to only breed white sheep, but occasionally a black would pop up. These black sheep were then culled out of the flock (which usually means they ended up on the dinner table). So, as you can see, it was less than desirable to be born a black sheep....and the saying began to circulate with regards to being an outcast in the family.
Nowadays, black sheep have a place in the world because modern handspinners love the wide variety in natural colors of wool. These colors include varying shades of brown, black, grey, and cream. Some fiber artists still like white so that they can dye it in the colors of the rainbow, but the natural colors definitely have their place in the market. Therefore, a sheep that is born black doesn't necessarily have to fear for its life anymore.
Here at Kellane Farm LLC, we have definitely found that black sheep aren't the lesser desired creatures of their ancestors. Our 2011 waiting list for lambs is pretty much 50/50 for black and white preference. Also, we are already completely sold out of brown roving until our next shearing/processing. Black sheep of the family? I think not!!
Since we only have one little black sheep right now - my sweet little Miss Maggie - the decision was made to add two more to the flock (a ram and a ewe). Both of these sheep are from Bill and Jody Fuller of Fuller's Hamps & Downs Farm in Clark, South Dakota. These little lambs were born in the fall of 2010. The ram is codon tested RR - just like our white ram, Master Keegan. So now we will have a white and a black ram!
I'll leave you with photos of our new flock members. They aren't here at the farm yet. I'm hoping to make a "lamb run" and pick them up in April. Also, we haven't named them, so as of right now I will just post their photos with their ID numbers.

codon tested RR black ram #1014 - Fall 2010

(photo courtesy of Fuller's Hamps & Downs)codon tested RR black ram #1014 - January 2011

(photo courtesy of Fuller's Hamps & Downs)

black ewe lamb #1011 - Fall 2010

(photo courtesy of Fuller's Hamps & Downs)black ewe lamb #1011 - January 2011

(photo courtesy of Fuller's Hamps & Downs)

3 comments:

Dawn Dutton said...

so adorable.. I hope I can meet them in person one day.

TDawn Maddox said...

Beautiful! I didnt know if Maggie qualified as black or brown before, but I will note that the darker colored sheep appeal to me more. :)

kimchi said...

ADORABLE!!! omg their faces just are SO CUTE!!! and their short leetle legs?!!! xoxoxo.