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  • Coopworth Breeding Stock
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  • How to read a Pedigree-
    or What Do All Those Initials in my Coopworth Registration Papers Mean?

    By Martha McGrath

    Many of us look at our pedigrees and wonder about the strange code of letters and numbers. The first North American Coopworths registered with the old registry were assigned a two letter prefix for each flock. This was combined with a number which the breeder assigned to each sheep. Originally the 2 letter prefix was followed by the letter “C” if the animal was natural colored. They later replaced this system with a letter and number for the color and birth type at the end of the ID, later including a 2 digit number for the year of birth. This was used as the animal’s registration number. For example, one of my sheep was registered “MM 0009 99 C3” This ewe was the ninth lamb born here in 1999, a triplet with natural colored heritage (though white). Our ACR pedigrees have similar information, but it is written differently. We usually include our flock name in the sheep ID, rather than in cipher, so it is easy to distinguish the breeder of the animal. ACR recently began adding a suffix to our registration numbers- W, N, or W/N for white with no natural colored heritage, natural colored, or white with natural colored heritage. If you like, you may include a code for the year, color, and type of birth, like “07 C2”, in the “private ID” column when registering your lambs.

    Below is a listing of some of the prefixes from the old registry;
    “AAG”- American Agrigenetics, the flock of Don Wilkinson, Oregon Extension Specialist, imported a total of 1,000 Coopworth, Romney and Dorset ewes in 1988, also purchased some OSU sheep.
    “AF”- Applewood Farm. Barbara & Dick Albertini. Underhill Center, VT.
    “BE”- Blue Ewe Farm, Cynthia Dumas in Greenfield, NH. Most of her stock came from Woodsedge. She never registered any Coopworths and dispersed her flock in July 1997. Her animals went to several New England flocks and were accepted into the Registry.
    “CC” or “EC”- Copp’s Coops, Ernie and Pauline Copp in Idaho. Co-founders of the Coopworth Sheep Society of North America (CSSNA) in 1986. The Copps purchased sheep “from the East Coast”, Don Gnos, an OSU ram, and later utilized AI. Though now disbursed, the descendents of this flock can be found in many North American Coopworth flocks.
    “CHF”- Cider Hill Farm, Becky & Bill Bartovics, North Haven, ME
    “DG”, “G”, “Gnos” and “FF”- Don Gnos named his Yoncalla, OR ranch “Footrot Flats” (I am told he had a sense of humor!). He imported a number of Coopworth purebred and commercial ewes and one or more rams from South Island, New Zealand about 1979, also purchased some OSU sheep.
    “DRF”- Dry Run Farming, Leonard Ballard, Shelbyville, KY, a CSSNA board member in the 1990s.
    “FH”- French Hill Farm, Dianne Trussell. Solon, ME
    “HT”- Hatchtown Farm, Jim and Pam Child of Bristol ME, co-founders of the American Coopworth Registry in 2002. Some of their first sheep were direct descendents of the “Woodsedge” importations.
    “HVF”- Hidden Valley Farm, Paul and Carol Wagner in Valders, WI, have done some AI.
    “LV”- Lowery Vidic of Montana, no other info on this person, the prefix appears in some Hidden Valley Farm pedigrees
    “MD”- Marianne Dube of Mountain Vewe Coopworths in Vermont. The Dubes purchased their first Coopworths from William Kruesi, who had done some AI with Australian “Te-Rae” Coopworth semen.
    “MM”- Martha & Jim McGrath, Deer Run Sheep Farm in Franklin, WV, co-founders of the American Coopworth Registry in 2002
    “OSU”- Oregon State University. In 1983, four rams and about 30 Coopworth ewes carrying Booroola Merino embryos were imported from the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The ewes went to USDA Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE, and the rams to OSU. Following lambing and weaning of their lambs, the ewes were then likewise transported to OSU. The flock was disbursed about 1990. Breeders purchasing OSU sheep were Don Wilkinson, Matt Wiley, Don Gnos and Maria Rooney.
    “PM” and “PMC”- Prairie Mary’s Acres, Mary Ann & Ron Neblung in Iowa, Cofounders of the Coopworth Sheep Society of North America (CSSNA) in 1986.
    “RF”- Rainfarm, Marcia Adams in WA, former CSSNA registrar
    "RFN"- Ruit Farm North, Nina & John Ruit, Round Pond, ME
    “SC”- Silver Creek Lambscapes, Maria Rooney of Silver Creek OR. Maria purchased many of her first sheep from OSU. She has done extensive AI using NZOSR rams (see below for an explanation of NZOSR)
    “SE” and “SEC”- Susan Elkin of Cobun Creek Farm in Morgantown, WV
    “TC” or “RM”- Turtle Creek Farm, Regina and Fred Malsbury, Coventry, CT
    “TS”- Two Shakes Farm, Wendy Furey, North Yarmouth, ME. Co-founder of the American Coopworth Registry in 2002
    “TW”, “TWC” or “TWH”- Jan & Trudy VanStralen, Hilltop Wools of Ontario, Canada, along with Fred & Linda Berry Walker of Woodsedge Wools of New Jersey, imported some of the first Coopworths, and some of the only natural colored, to North America in 1980. They later purchased some of the Agriculture Canada imports. The flock was dispersed by 1992. Some of their sheep were sold to the Walkers of Woodsedge Wools in NJ, the Neblungs of Prairie Mary Acres in IA and to Susan Elkin of Cobun Creek Farm in WV.
    “WAN”- Kathy Lansing, IA, purchased some sheep from the Van Stralens, also purchased the “Prairie Mary” flock in 1994, disbursed flock in 1999.
    "WE"- Fred & Linda Berry Walker, WoodsEdge or WoodsEdge Wools of New Jersey imported some of the first Coopworths, and some of the only natural colored, to North America in 1980, hosted the first meetings of Coopworth breeders in North America in 1983, hosted the “All Star Longwool Sheep Sale” in 1984 and 1985. The Walkers did not participate in the forming of the CSSNA in 1986.
    “Wick”- Wickeochoke, Brenda Spingarn in NJ purchased her sheep from Woodsedge, but never registered any. Some of her animals were accepted into the open registry of both the CSSNA and the ACR.
    “WK”- William Kruesi, Tinmouth, VT did some AI with Australian “Te-Rae” Coopworth semen.
    “WW”- Wild n Wooly, Hope and Bev Yankey, Mathias, WV, an all white flock based on the “Maymont” importations.

    Some breeders for whom I have not found prefixes;
    Jonathan May- Maymont Farm in Timberville, VA, attended the first meeting of Coopworth breeders in North America in 1983. Though Mr. May imported the first Coopworths into the US in 1979, he did not register his sheep with the CSSNA. The decedents of some of his sheep have been registered with ACR as “Maymont” through Hope Yankey’s “Wild ‘n Woolly” flock.
    John Mohar- Katka Coopworths, Troy, MT, a breeder in the 1990s, past president of CSSNA.
    Brad Wigle- of Maryland attended the first meeting of Coopworth breeders in North America in 1983, bred Coopworths for a short period of time.
    Matt Wiley- Wiley Grass Farm, Schoolcraft, MI, purchased OSU sheep, elected president CSSNA in 1992, may still maintain a commercial x-bred flock.

    NZOSR- this stands for “New Zealand Ovine Sire Reference” Group and is followed by a number. It indicates that the offspring is the result of Artificial Insemination (AI). NZOSR is structured to produce gene stock relevant to the times, selecting and referencing sires for wool production, lean growth and facial eczema resistance. The sires in the catalogue are selected and ranked for preference by members at their ram selection day, covering approx. 8000 (in 1997) progeny of 95 sires in 17 flocks. Sires ranking in the top 30 for each trait are designated Trait-Leaders. Sires selected for AI service are designated Reference Sires, order of usage indicated #(1-4), and are further defined for performance attribute by the following ID prefixing: 8000 (wool), 7000 (lean growth), 6000 (FE), 5000 (both lean growth and wool).

    I would love to receive any corrections or additions to this list.

    Jim and Martha McGrath
    178 Lough Rd.
    Franklin, WV, 26807