and then be forced to wait additional years for your goals to be realized. Delays cost money
and can be the cause for those who have less financial depth to bow out when they otherwise
may have succeeded.
Only recently (since 1998) as AI genetics been available to North Americans for breed
improvement. Before Icelandic semen was available to us, it must have been a powerful
temptation to cross a horned with a polled in an effort to improve its wool, or even just to
have someone unrelated to breed to, because the number of available animals was so small.
Nowadays though there is no more excuse for this, especially if you receive training in the
new vaginal AI method. If you want to improve wool or horning, just wait for the proper AI
sire to come along to do the job, and order his semen. Do you want to improve milking
abilities? Timon's mother has the fantastic milking score of 9.9! (It will take a couple more
years though to see whether Timon is passing those abilities on to his daughters.) Kari has
exceptional horns and an incredible 9.5 wool score!! The polled Arfi has meat statistics
almost up with the best of the horned, as well as carrying moorit and spotting!
Those who make serious errors will eventually lose their ability to perpetuate their
mistakes, the mighty engine of economics will select against them and they will go out of
business. This economic/administrative truth rules all..."the decisions you make are perfectly
designed to give you the results you are getting." If too many of us make uninformed
breeding choices, loading up the inventory of the North American Icelandic Breeding
Community with inferior and even defective stock, one of the results we will get is that it will
come back to "bite" us all, and we will not likely be able to recapture the breeds credibility.
This breed is still relatively new on the scene, and our numbers are still small. It would be
wise to fix problems and to establish a solid base of knowledge and experience before we
become a large and unweildy organization.
Diversity is good, but it is still advisable to avoid certain breeding practices no matter what
your goals are. I would suggest that your breeding goals be clearly stated on your webpage.
If, for example, you are breeding for an all-around excellent sheep, say so. If breeding for
heavy muscling with low and broad conformations is your goal, state it clearly. After that, it is
"let the buyer beware," and is the buyer's responsibility to do their homework, but if you as a
breeder/seller suspect that some other breeder's animals would more closely fit the priorities
of the person you are talking to, help the buyer out and refer them to that other breeder.
Strive for an all-around animal, or specialize, but for the sake of the reputation and genetic
integrity of the breed, inform yourself as to what "good" is by signing up for the Vaginal AI
and Evaluation Class at the Reinbeck Fair this October. The North American Icelandic
breeding community as a whole needs to learn to talk in terms that everyone understands,
not just those of us who went to Iceland in '03. Without the evaluation training, you won't
know how good or bad your animals are, you will only be able to express your opinion. Spend
the time and the money to inform yourself as to what is "good" or "excellent" with this
breed, then contribute to its general well-being with informed and responsible breeding
practices that help sustain and improve its versatility, and add to its mystique!
|Interview with Mundi, page 4