Our original Suffolk Flock was based on seven yearling ewes we purchased from the Batie Flock of Tucumcari, New Mexico in 1982. They were all daughters of the "Keeper" ram. The same year we purchased the pick of the first lamb crop of "Keeper's Kopy" from Heupel Suffolks of California. "Keeper's Kopy" was the 1981 Midwest Sale Champion and was purchased by Heupel Suffolks and Cal Poly University. That pick was our ram "Chinook" who is listed on the pedigree of every sheep we own and in most cases on both sides of the pedigree.
From an evolving line breeding program we were able to produce Suffolks that were successful in both the barn and the show ring. We never purchased another ewe during this period and only added rams through artificial insemination. The two prominent outside rams we used in our flock were "Tomorrow" (the 1990 Reserve National Champion, as a lamb) and the "The Boz" (undoubtedly the most prominent Suffolk ram in the early 1990's).
The two Whisper rams that had the most impact on our flock were: "Manchester II" (a "Boz" son) and "Leeds" (a "Tomorrow" son). Both rams excelled in the genetic characteristics we have tried to embed in Whisper Suffolks, but most importantly they were able to pass on both their genotype and phenotype with a high degree of predictability. Simply put, they were "stamping out” lambs. In essence they carried our breeding program through the 1990's until we sold our farm in 2000, with our best brood ewes going to the Cavanaugh family of Richmond, Ohio who own Rolling Hills Farm.
Fortunately we continued to have an excellent relationship with the Cavanaugh family. Despite selling our Suffolks, Joe continued to consult for Rolling Hills, advising them on breeding combinations and ram selection. When we decided to restart the Whisper Suffolk flock, we went to the Cavanaughs and purchased a group of ewe lambs that were primarily our original breeding. Artificial insemination with semen from our original stock has allowed us to bring together much of our original genetics. For most Suffolk breeders today, our genetic base is a total out-cross.
The Whisper Suffolk flock has been sold to Charles & Brittany Martin of Hermiston, Oregon. Contact information for the Martins can be found on their website: www.BAndCSheep.com. The Martins plan to continue producing Classic Heritage Suffolks based on the Whisper Flock.