Our Breeding Program
We have been raising Tunis sheep since 2007, a relatively short time but have wonderful mentors that are leading us through this exciting adventure. We belong to the National Tunis Sheep Registry Inc. the registering body for Tunis sheep. Debbi became the Region 8 Director in 2019.
Here are key components of our breeding program:
We consider them the most important aspect of our farm, the girls in the flock in this instance. We are selecting healthy ewes that fit our interpretation of the Tunis Standard. We started with Tunis ewes from a local breeder (the last ewe pictured below) and have been adding new stock and making replacements as we build the flock of our dreams.
Weighing in heavily in importance, the rams are of course responsible for 50% of the traits of each lamb from every ewe. And since there will always be a minimum of rams, care must be taken to choose only the very best.
The ram we used for the 2010 lambs was BARTHOLOMEW 07-28 “RALPH”, he was young and unproven when we brought him from New York. We are thrilled with the lambs we had from him and kept several ewes. So we sold Ralph and chose a nice ram from Sonshine Farm to sire the 2011 lambs. SONSHINE ACRES 90431 “Troy” added nice traits to the flock but was a bit too aggressive for us to want to handle. We sold Troy and kept his son BROWN UF 1010 “Urlich”, a lamb from one of our original Tunis ewes, then 13 year old “Mudpie”.
We had also kept several nice 2011 ram lambs for breeding. Valentino, Varney and Vigor did very good, but we did have later than normal lambs that year.
For 2012 we kept BROWN UF 1118 “Vigor” and purchased a super ram lamb from Darling Tunis in Ohio. DARLING 1212 “Wooster” did a great job, he sired the best of our lambs for 2013, producing many sets of twins. We used him exclusively for the 2013-14 breeding. We were very happy with what he produced and kept several daughters.
We kept a son of one of our favorite ewes, Ferm’s Queeny, and UF Vigor. We used BROWN UF 1308 “Xerxes” as a great outcross on the daughters we kept from Wooster for the 2014-15 breeding season. We followed up using Wooster on those that weren’t bred to Xerxes.
We continued building our flock with daughters of both Xerxes and Wooster in 2015 and had the opportunity to sell Xerxes. Loving the lambs that Wooster had been producing we used him exclusively again for the 2015-2016 breeding season.
Having a flock now that was built up of mostly Wooster daughters we finally had to let him go. But we did trade a Xerxes son for one of Wooster’s three year old sons BROWN UF 1302 “X-otis”, to use. Otis had proven himself with a local breeder and they needed a new boy so they could keep Otis daughters. We also added another ram lamb, DARLING 1610 “Stevie” from Darling Tunis. We have had great success with Louise Dunham’s bloodlines crossing into ours.
In 2017, we sold Stevie to a local breeder after getting a few lambs from him and kept BROWN UF 1723 “Bill”, one of our 2017 Otis sons. Otis sired the majority of the 2018 spring lambs, with Bill cleaning up the flock and producing some late lambs. We retired Otis and kept many nice ewes of his.
It was time for a new bloodline so after a long search we found just the ram from Dana Gochenour of Woolly Hollow in Virginia. Arriving late in 2018, Woolly Hollow 0253 “Clay” had a big job to do that fall. Not even a yearling yet, he successfully bred every open ewe! And we loved the qualities he passed on to our lambs in the subsequent three years.
In 2021 we bought a flock from a friend who had started her Tunis with Stevie and some of our ewes. We were able to use a new ram, “Eddie” on the daughters of Clay. We split the ewes into two flocks separated by a cattle panel fence. Unfortunately, later in the breeding season, Eddie and Clay had a butting contest at the fence and Clay lost, he was found dead. We had an opportunity to sell Eddie later and decided to get another ram lamb, WOOLLY HOLLOW 414 “Gunner,” from Dana. We also kept one of our Eddie sons to use for the 2023 lambs we are having at this time.
Gunner and Guru seemed to have done a good job as Feb ram lambs and we are having a nice crop of lambs. I recently sold Guru and will be looking for another ram to assist Gunner later this year.