Gotland Fleece quality question

More
10 years 7 months ago #36211 by Iniuk
Any Gotland owners out there?
I have 3 Gotlands I purchased from a friend who was leaving the district, a ram and 2 ewes. The ewes lambed 2 weeks ago and I had them shorn along with my son's 4 last night.
BIG disappointment in the wool dept though- the ewes' fleeces are impossibly cotted, the ram's somewhat better. The weights are poor too, the wool pretty short. My son's odd lot had vastly more usable wool.
Gotland info I had read led me to expect longish lustrous wool for spinning, but I can't be bothered with these fleeces.
My instinct is to assume this is not going to improve, and I should cull them and forget about Gotlands. We suspect another dry summer here and want to keep numbers down.
Is this what Gotland fleeces are like?
Am I just unlucky?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 7 months ago #472980 by ronnie
There are several Gotland owners on this forum, including Inger. Hopefully someone will be along shortly to answer your questions.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 7 months ago #472991 by muri
Iniuk, if you shear them after lambing, their fleece will be poorer quality than at other times of the year. their energy goes into their lambs, not into their wool.
The quality of the wool will also be affected by the quality of their grazing, ie level of nourishemnt
It also depends on when they were shorn last.
Isheer my sheep every 6 months which is a bit short for spinning so they are better left 9months to one year.
I give my gotland wool to a felting group and it is always appreciated.
When were the sheep last shorn do you know?
I know that those of mine who were left for over a year get very felted tangled wool which becomes quite difficult to sheer

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 7 months ago #473002 by LongRidge
Originally, Gotland Pelts were bred by the Gotland island people to make woolen coats out of, ie the pelts were used rather than the wool. The best time for both meat and a pelt is at about 9 months of age.
As a generalisation, pregnancy is very bad for wool production. Limited food will make the wool more fine, but that has to be done carefully because starvation causes illness, and both cause breaks in the wool and cotting.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 7 months ago #473007 by Iniuk
Thanks Muri, I think these had a full years growth- the same guy shore them before lambing last year, and they were much the same then apparently. He went "Oh! These are D's! I remember them" and not in a good way.
We did have a drought summer, but they were fed supplementary willow and such at their other home and are in good nick now. They've been here about 3 months on fair but not lush grass. Son's 4 bitsers on the same pasture about the same length of time have quite usable fleeces.
Longridge, I get what you say about Gotland pelts, but understood the fleeces were good for spinning. After all those elves made cloaks out of them!
When we had coloured sheep some 30 years ago we shore about this time and rarely had problems with cotting.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 7 months ago #473008 by barnes
Terrible!! :(

I don't have gotlands, but I'm a spinner, and my spinning friend has them.

Hers are the same. The fine curly wool matts like #3ll!!

They give rare new meaning to the phrase "Carpet Wool" ... ie premade carpet ... just shear and place on floor!!

You can barely tear off pieces to tease out and use, the fiber is more inclined to break and friz than untangle. I've never seen such terrible wool.

The good news is that the crossbreds are lovely! Breed them to something that has a good fleece and you get a lovely gotland style fleece without the cotting issues.

But remember if you want to get coloured offspring you'll have to cross them with something coloured ... the coloured gene in sheep is recessive.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 7 months ago #473024 by Iniuk
Thanks Barnes! I'll rehome or freezer the ram, indulge the son in his desire to get a 'normal' ram and see what eventuates.
I do like their natures and they are incredible mums, finding tiny sheltered nooks for the lambs.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 7 months ago #473046 by Inger
A Gotland breeder in Auckland used to get good prices for the fleeces from her flock. She sold the fleeces to a coloured wool buyer.

You need to make sure that the wool is shorn off, before it starts felting. We shear ours at the beginning of November and only shear once a year. The only problem we get with our fleeces, is the Rimu and gorse through the fleece, which isn't nice to get out.

I would wait until next year and shear them at the beginning of Summer and see what the wool is like, after they've had a full year of growth.

I've spun the fleece of our sheep and it's been fine for spinning, if the staples are a full year's growth. The fleece off the lambs is the softest of course.

There is of course, a variation of fleece quality across the breed, so you do need to choose your animals according to their fleece, when you are buying. Not all Gotlands produce top quality fleece for spinning.

If you happen to be looking for white wool, I've got a Gotland x Wiltshire ewe lamb which will give you very fine fibre. Her mother went looking for a ram, before I wanted to start the mating season !!!! And she picked a Wiltshire ram, which happened to be handy. I've put a ring on the male twin, but the female twin would make a useful breeder if you're looking for a nice fleece that's white. It's possible that she won't have any belly wool over Summer and may lose the wool around the rear and neck during that time, but that wool isn't worth keeping anyway. It's the saddle of wool across the back and sides that is the most useful.

We have an older ewe which is the same cross and she has lovely lambs each year. They are usually amongst the heaviest lambs at weaning, as she has a good sized udder to feed them with.

As you say, the Gotlands are very good mums. Our shearer bought the excess Gotland and Gotland cross ewe lambs off us one Autumn, a few years ago, to keep as future breeding ewes. He used a white ram of some other breed over them and was very pleased with the resulting crop of lambs.

We've only got young lambs at the moment, but there is a lady further North, who has adult Gotlands for sale and I think there are other breeder around Auckland as well.

45 hectares between Whangarei and Paparoa. Registered Dexter cattle, Wiltshire sheep - black, white & pied.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry. Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
A cat called Pusscat and still looking for another heading dog.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 7 months ago #473154 by Iniuk
Thanks for your suggestions Inger. I'll try and give them another year, have to persuade son they are worth it, as it has a feel of another droughty summer to us and we want to keep numbers low. I have one ewe lamb I'll hope to keep as well.
I noticed with the 2 sets of twins that one of each pair has tightly curled wool, the other far less crimpy, almost flat. It's really marked. The little ewe is a 'flat' fleeced girl.
The ram has straighter looking fleece and his is quite usable, the 2 mums are more ringletty and the cotted fleeces. Be interesting to see what happens.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 7 months ago #473160 by chocolatewoolnz

Iniuk;475813 wrote: Any Gotland owners out there?

Hi there. I have had Gotland sheep since 1998. Since that time wool exporters have sent my wool to Japan and Russia and I have sold it to spinners all over NZ. Gotlands produce very high quality wool but it all depends on management and selective breeding. To get a quality handcraft fleece my sheep are shorn pre lamb (approx July) and then post lamb (approx December). The fleece that grows from December is then of a high standard. However, selective breeding also helps to improve the quality of the wool over time. My Gotland lambs are typically born in September and then shorn in March. The hoggets are then shorn with the ewes in December and this brings them into the ewe shearing regime.

At present I have around 35 Gotland breeding ewes. In term of wool weights, Gotland sheep will never clip a heavy fleece. I skirt our fleeces very hard and usually have around 1-1.5kg of ewe wool. However, from my experience spinners love fleeces that size as opposed to a 3-4kg fleece. Typically I average around $17-$20/kg for Gotland wool. However, don't just shear the sheep twice a year and expect those prices. It takes time and patience. Do some online research and understand the breed more (I found out about Gotland sheep as part of a school project at age 14, living on a farm I bought some). Like all breeds, Gotlands have their faults (e.g., feet problems) but its about understanding the breed and having a plan for achieving your goals.

86 acres with Gotland, coloured merino and a few white sheep www.chocolatewoolnz.com + 1300 strawberry plants www.gilchriststrawberries.co.nz

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 7 months ago #473186 by Iniuk
That's very interesting, chocolatewool. As I got these mainly to help a friend out, I am not at all sure I will adopt shearing twice a year though. I'll have to see what transpires...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.160 seconds