The Shear Perfection Ranch Story
Jerry & Lyn Brown
Shear Perfection Ranch was born in 1989, when our kids came to us wanting to get a different
breed of sheep for their 4H projects. Eirann (then age 15), Darcy (10) and Jared (6) combed through sheep
books trying to decide what they wanted. Finally they came upon California Red Sheep in "Raising Sheep the
Modern Way" and two paragraphs and a black and white photo caused love at first sight.
Now, it was our problem; how do we find this breed? We
checked with local ag agents, searched the net, asked local shepherds…no one had ever heard of California Red
Sheep. Then we called the American Sheep Industry in Colorado…who had the same answer as everyone else. "We've
never heard of California Red Sheep, but, if they're from California call these people." We were given three or
four numbers and after several phone calls we reached someone from the ag dept. of UC at Davis. He gave us a
brief review of Dr. Spurlock's project and the phone number for Mike & Janice Altomare in Merced,
We purchased four exposed ewes [264 Donnah, 271 Fancy, 274
Simone and 197 Candy] sight unseen from Mike & Janice and transported them home to New Mexico. No babies
arrived so we decided we had to get a ram for our girls. This resulted in another phone call to Mike &
Janice and before long 384 Shameless and two more ewes [314 Evie & 328 Paulette] were headed to AZ with Tom
Sellers along with a couple ewes for the DeKeiffers in Colorado. Jerry was working in AZ at the time and brought
our new group the rest of the way.
The kids had a great time showing their California Reds
which resulted in some great successes [see Memorable Animals below] and some real frustrations. Eirann and
Shameless appeared on the Morning TV show in Pueblo, CO, where he was a perfect gentleman until the camera left
him and then he flooded their stage area. Wherever they went to show, the Reds always drew attention, a crowd
favorite, even if they weren't always the judge's favorite.
CALIFORNIA RED SHEEP PURCHASES
Several years later we received a phone call that the
Williams' out of Colorado wanted to disperse their herd of CA Reds. We weren't prepared to purchase the entire
herd, so we teamed up with the Jones' out of Moriarty NM to split the herd. The Jones' picked up the herd and we
met at their place to divvy them up. What we didn't anticipate was that the Williams' had not recorded numbers
of babies and what mom's they went to. We spent several hours in a blizzard holding babies and then letting them
go to see which mother they went to. At last we had everyone matched up and loaded our half and headed for home.
Notables in this herd were: the ram 147 Titan, and ewe 184 Lizzie.
Somewhere around 1997 or 1998 we purchased another dispersal
herd from the Sweeney's in Idaho. We gained lots of wonderful bloodlines from this purchase the most notable of
which were: Rams-543 Sundance, 780 Chance and 882 Taos and Ewes-725 Callie, 406 Tuesday, 726 Jasmine, 454 Trudy,
625 Willow and 408 Polly.
There were a few other small purchases here and there
including another group of yearlings from the Altomares in 2003. But since 2003 we have maintained a virtually
closed herd and stand 5-7 rams to maintain diversity in bloodlines.
We have sold California Reds from the West Coast to the East
Coast and have met lots of wonderful people in the process.
Our most memorable sale was 64 head to the United Arab
Emirates. We could not fill the order by ourselves, so Jerry called around and located other breeders with
animals for sale and trucked them back to our ranch where we keep them quarantined from our own animals.
Eventually we delivered them to San Angelo TX and they were flown out of Chicago airport to the UAE. All the
animals arrived safe and healthy. On last report from the exporter, the California Reds were tolerating the 140
degree summers very well.
We also flew two rams to Canada; a very interesting process
MEMORABLE CALIFORNIA RED SHEEP RAMS:
384 Shameless- He was a beautiful ram with a slight attitude. He wasn't really fond of any people
except our oldest daughter, Eirann. For Eirann he would do anything. He stood Grand Champion Other Breeds Ram
at Colorado State Fair and was 3rd in the Overall Grand Champion Class.
147 Titan-Titan was a mellow old boy when we got him. We
found several niches with certain ewe bloodlines that produced nice big ewe lambs. And with Evie he produced
543 Sundance-When Sundance arrived from Idaho, he weighed a
whopping 285 lbs. and had rolls of fat. We slimmed him down to 250#. He was the longest, tallest and most mellow
ram we have ever owned. He left us way too soon as a result of a snake bite.
882 Taos-This beautiful Sundance ram when bred to Curly Sue,
gave us our most prolific ram, Tank.
1105 Tank-This son of Sundance and Curly Sue produced the
largest babies of any ram we have ever owned. His average single was 11lb and his twins were often 10lbs each.
Big healthy lambs were his trademark. With 725 Callie produced Supreme Grand Champion Ram Harvest Sheep &
Fiber Festival, Humvie.
1137 Ivanhoe- Not as big as his grandfather, but what a producer. Great disposition. He has 8
rams in the registry to date: How's Bayou, Hocus-Pocus, Zubber Dude, San Antonio, The Grateful Red, Hail to
the Sheep, Rude Dude and Korkonov
MEMORABLE CALIFORNIA RED SHEEP EWES:
197 Candy-Candy was the widest ewe, she looked like she was
carrying lambs even when she wasn't. Very, very dark red.
264 Donnah-Had the most compelling eyes and knew how to use
them. Won best fleece at show and passed it on to her offspring. She was a light red, almost Palomino
274 Simone-Sweet Simone, if you were in the yard, she was by
your side. She was so special. She had her last lamb at age 11 and didn't get milk, we bottle fed him but she
still raised him. She would bring him to the fence for feeding and wait for him and then walk proudly back to the pasture with him.
314 Evie- A dark beauty, she stood Reserve Grand Champion
Ewe at the Colorado State Fair. She behaved so well for the whole show. That evening, she accompanied Eirann in
the Ladies Lead Contest. She was jumping almost 6 ft straight up all the way around the ring. She was
awarded the Most Stubborn Ewe Award.
683 Curly Sue-Evie's hard luck daughter was born in a 22
below blizzard. Her twin brother died of hyperthermia and she lost her ears and tail to frostbite. She gave us
lots of beautiful lambs including the incomparable Tank.
725 Callie-This is one we wish we hadn't sold. She produced
Humvie, Excalibur and Disrupter.
406 Tuesday-My triplet producer. She gave birth to three
sets of triplets and we think 5 sets of twins during her lifetime. And she passed the triplet gene to her
726 Jasmine-The best mother and a well conformed ewe. Mother
of Jess, Rhexx Ronin, and Jaina
454 Trudy-This ewe was not only beautiful and sweet, she was
the strongest willed ewe we have ever seen. in her prime she weighed over 200#. At age 11, she had a stroke
while delivering her triplets. For three weeks, she was unable to rise. We kept working with her moving her legs
and we kept her triplets with her. She eventually was able to get to her feet and struggled with getting her
legs to work, but she eventually was walking almost normally. She lived for five years more. We never bred her
again, but she became Grandma Trudy. She was always surrounded by lambs even to the day she died. She will
always have a special place in our hearts.
625 Willow-Willow the Pillow. We never mention her without
thinking of her babies, who always slept on top of her.
408 Polly-One of our most prolific ewes. Fiercely
independent. If the rest of the herd was going to the north field Polly was headed south.
1645 EweKnowWho-Born to 12 year old Rumor, who did not get
her milk in, EweKnowWho was bottle raised. When the Daniels called us about purchasing CA Reds, we tried to
convince him that he should take this ewe for his kids to show. She was just one of those lambs that drew your
eye. Mr. Daniels was adamant; he did not want a bottle lamb. we finally convinced him; after all she would be
weaned by the time he got here to pick her up. EweKnowWho ended up taking Grand Champion Ewe West Tennessee
Expo at six months of age over older ewes.
have served on the Board of Directors of the California Red Sheep Registry; sometimes at the same time,
sometimes at different times. In 2009, Jerry took over
the position of Registrar from Janice Altomare. Jerry passed away in
September 2014 and I have taken over the registrar position. In recent
years, we have found it is harder to find unrelated bloodlines, so in 2012 we conducted a census of the Registry
members and found that a large number of animals had been lost to the breed due to members dispersing herds at
their local sale barns. The registry submitted
the registry records and current census to Dr Harvey Blackburn of the National Animal Germplasm Program who
completed An Inbreeding Assessment of California Red Sheep which concluded that “by 2020 the average
inbreeding level will be 0.216. At this level the potential for observing reduced performance due to
inbreeding depression increases.” For that reason, the
California Red Sheep Registry is currently developing a rebuilding program which will open the books to new
foundation animals which will be developed based on the original Tunis x Tunis/Bardados cross of Dr. Spurlock
and the other founders of the breed. Shear Perfection Ranch
will be an active participant in the California Red Sheep rebuilding program. Since this program
involves the procurement of top Tunis and Barbados Blackbelly breeding stock, which are also limited in
numbers, we will be adding a purebred Tunis and purebred Barbados Blackbelly breeding projects to our ranch
as a natural accompaniment to the new foundation line California Red Sheep project. We are looking forward
to this new adventure. The Tunis division of Shear Perfection Ranch will be called Roadrunner Tunis and the
Barbados division will be called Enchantment Barbados.
To learn more about the current status of the California Red Sheep Rebuilding Project