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Groverman Shropshires

Groverman Shropshires The Groverman Shropshire sheep flock is the oldest continuously-owned pure Shrop flock in the world, and the only truly pure Shropshire flock in the US.

Operating as usual

I think there were a number of people that followed Groverman Shropshires from the community that Jamie Bruce and I (Cod...
02/15/2022

I think there were a number of people that followed Groverman Shropshires from the community that Jamie Bruce and I (Cody Hiemke) don't know. Jamie and I were the ones sharing stories about Fred and his sheep to this page.

Fred Groverman Dvm passed away last weekend. We know there are a lot of people out there that will miss him. We will too.

02/15/2020

Noon tour

It's good to be back in California for work, and to see Fred. We woke to three sets of twins out of the New Zealand rams...
02/12/2020

It's good to be back in California for work, and to see Fred. We woke to three sets of twins out of the New Zealand rams. The total is now nine lambs. Hopefully a bunch more to come this week.

-Cody

09/25/2019
Bartels Farm

Cody here. I have a lot to post after we AI'd 30 ewes at Groverman Shropshires last Friday but I havent had a chance to compile my thoughts and pics.

In the meantime, see here. This is one of four Shrops in Trees here in the States. Most of these ewes are Groverman born and raised, and then spent the last winter in Wisconsin at Kerr Shropshires.

Thank you, Brian, for giving these girls a good home.

Big promotion on the farm.

Hi everyone! It's been a bit since the last post. Fred emailed some ram pictures this morning. I include them here. They...
05/16/2019

Hi everyone! It's been a bit since the last post.

Fred emailed some ram pictures this morning. I include them here. They show the yearling rams Fred grew out last year.

Groverman Shropshires has over a dozen yearling-and-older commercial rams for sale. These are moderate-framed meat-wagons.

Please reach out to Fred ([email protected]) or me ([email protected]) if you're interested in rams.

Gorgeous photos from the home of Shropshire sheep.
04/26/2019

Gorgeous photos from the home of Shropshire sheep.

Rain and sun offer great opportunities for landscape photography, and I made the most of them on Caer Caradoc yesterday. I spent about five hours on the summit and was treated to bright sunshine, sharp showers, amazing skies and no fewer than three rainbows. The hazy atmosphere of the past few weeks had finally disappeared and the spires and towers of Shrewsbury were clearly visible, with the sandstone hills of the Mid Cheshire Ridge standing out on the horizon. Glorious Shropshire at its best!

If you like our images, you can buy them as prints in a range of sizes through our website: www.shropshireandbeyond.com

04/03/2019

Yeh. Another post. We took drone footage of the majority of the Shrop flock late this afternoon. This was my (Cody's) first "herding" of sheep with the drone. We picked up the limping ewes whose feet were just trimmed. As mentioned in the Sunday post, it's been continuously wet in California for a long time.

04/03/2019

Fred Groverman Dvm and I (Cody...and Ruth and Judy) have been to Long Mynd, Shrewsbury, and many flocks in southwestern England where the Shropshire breed originated.

Ruth and I have visited friends' flocks on the North and South Islands of New Zealand. We spent days with Uwe and Vibekka in Norway.

Shropshires are proven to be adaptable to many climates and production systems in gorgeous landscapes across the world, and for over two centuries. The friends we've met along the way are wonderful.

This drone footage doesn't do this landscape justice. Setting foot on the Groverman property, atop a hill overlooking Petaluma where Shropshires have been raised since the 1930s, is something I can't explain. It's something that one can only experience.

Granting the gorgeous countries and properties I've visited that are home to Shropshire sheep, this place is my favorite.

An afternoon with Fred Groverman Dvm, in pictures.
04/01/2019

An afternoon with Fred Groverman Dvm, in pictures.

04/01/2019

After a long winter and no travel since last early October, I'm glad visiting Fred and his sheep are my first stop. The ewes and lambs are in great shape, particularly considering the excess of rain they've had.
-posted by Cody Hiemke

Groverman ewes are available in the Midwest.
01/20/2019

Groverman ewes are available in the Midwest.

Took the two hour drive north today to help preg check ewes at Kerr Shropshires. This is the location Ryan Kerr hopes will someday be home to the Wisconsin Shropshire King. I'm not giving that title up as easily as I do the Local Crazy Cat Guy.

Kerr Shropshire and Mapleton Mynd work together closely. Kerr's flock started in 2012 with Mapleton Mynd ewes (after selling off his mule ewes), Groverman ewes were added a year later, and the flock has grown from there. We both have closed flocks, share rams, and are on the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) and the Voluntary Scrapie Program (working toward Export Verified).

Kerr Shropshires is the temporary home to Groverman Shropshires ewes this winter. A large group of these are spoken for, but additional young ewes will be available this late summer/fall after the 14+ month old ewes are weaned.

It was a cold day to ultrasound. As always, thanks to Carol Dodge for her expertise and tireless efforts in support of the sheep industry.

09/16/2018

ATTENTION MIDWESTERN AND EASTERN PRODUCTION-ORIENTED SHEPHERDS! Groverman Shropshire ewes are in the Midwest and will be ready for new homes in 2019.

Groverman Shropshires are the oldest continuously owned Shrop flock in the world, based out of Petaluma, CA. Fred Groverman Dvm has been a caretaker of the breed here in the States. These are the only truly pure Shropshires in the US. Fred AI'd with New Zealand rams in 2002 and a UK ram in 2007; we are looking to both those countries for new genetics to be used in 2019. There are decades of production records behind this flock, with National Sheep Industry Improvement Program records dating back to 2005.

Yesterday 20 ewe lambs, 17 mature ewes, two ram lambs, and a proven stud arrived to Kerr Shropshires in Shiocton, Wisconsin. A huge thank you to Joe Pozzi for making the long haul to deliver these sheep quickly and well cared for.

Ryan Kerr and his son, Aiden, will be temporary caretakers of these sheep. The ewes left "The Golden State" on Thursday when it's at it goldest (photo in comments), and the ewes are a bit green. The Kerr's abundant green feed will turn these girls around and flush them for late October breeding. They will grow the two ram lambs out for Fred. The stud took a secondary trailer ride yesterday to Mapleton Mynd Shropshires; after having bred in California he will produce another contemporary group in my flock.

Ryan and Aiden will keep the 2019 lamb crop out of these ewes. Open 12 month old Groverman ewes will be available for sale in early January once scanning is done. The remainder of these ewes will be available for sale in late July.

We saw strong demand for ewes in 2018 and have a list of committed buyers started for 2019.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THESE SHEEP, REACH OUT TO Cody Hiemke SOON.

Cody here. I had a wonderful visit from Gail (McKerrow) Jorgenson and her husband Gary this past Saturday. They were bac...
07/24/2018

Cody here. I had a wonderful visit from Gail (McKerrow) Jorgenson and her husband Gary this past Saturday. They were back in Wisconsin to visit their children, and made time to deliver to me "The Chambers Letters". These are letters between Doug Chambers and Gavin and Will McKerrow. I have similar letters between Doug and Fred.

I've only glanced at the Chambers Letters, but did read through the carbon copy of McKerrow letters sent to prospective buyers for their 1967 Sale. It's neat to see this correspondence advertising a sale back in the day. Also neat to see the fast turnaround Kent Flora offered. I'm sharing here some of those letters pertinent to sheep people today. From a historical aspect, I figure it's appropriate for this to come from Fred's page.

Dan Macon is a pretty great guy. I appreciate his efforts in educating people about sheep and his production system; his...
07/10/2018

Dan Macon is a pretty great guy. I appreciate his efforts in educating people about sheep and his production system; his 2017 #Sheep365 series could be an educational course all on it's own...not to mention this year's #52weeksofsheep. Dan has a small flock of Groverman Shropshires that he uses in his breeding program.

-Cody

Today on the blog, we invite you to a virtual visit to Flying Mule Farm during this past lambing season, where shepherd and educator Dan Macon shares about his approach to British crossbreeding, the challenges of developing value added products as a small-scale producer, and the miracle of ruminants in creating "renewable products that benefit my community and the world. Properly managed, grazing animals (like my sheep) also benefit the environment …”
http://www.fibershed.com/2018/07/09/an-ear-to-the-ground-at-flying-mule-farm/

Written & photographed by Sarah Lillegard.

I'm sure the details of how long Fred Groverman Dvm has been vet checking and consigning to the Cloverdale Ram Sale was ...
05/06/2018

I'm sure the details of how long Fred Groverman Dvm has been vet checking and consigning to the Cloverdale Ram Sale was shared yesterday, but I wasnt there to learn those fact. It's definitely been a long time. I was happy to learn this morning the sale was dedicated to Fred.

- Cody Hiemke

We had a great sale today!! Congratulations to our two scholarship recipients, Ariel Scholten and Lola Plum. Tom Crane was awarded top consignor this year, and we dedicated our sale to Dr. Fred Groverman. Thank you everyone who made this sale a huge success once again!

I missed posting last week. This week I'll dig back onto the scanned photos file and share the picture of a 1967-born ra...
03/22/2018

I missed posting last week. This week I'll dig back onto the scanned photos file and share the picture of a 1967-born ram. Pretty cool guy here. He's four generations removed from Shultz' imported ram, Sir Winston. None of Groverman's New Type 2 in this pedigree. I'm not sure the pedigree behind McKerrow's Headmaster or Hannibal.
-Cody Hiemke

I am fortunate to be friends with and have access to great sheep-focused veterinarians. Fred Groverman Dvm of course is ...
03/08/2018

I am fortunate to be friends with and have access to great sheep-focused veterinarians. Fred Groverman Dvm of course is one. My local vet is Dr. Shambow, Suffolk and Tunis breeder from Wisconsin. Dr. Nancy East in California was integral in writing the initial Niman Ranch Lamb Protocols and still works with many of my producers.

And, Dr. Bob Leder is a very good friend, ram customer, and ram marketer for Groverman and Mapleton Mynd Shropshires. He’s someone I can always bounce questions and ideas off.

Earlier this week I received an envelope from Bob in the mail. He was cleaning out his attic and found correspondence he had with the American Shropshire Registry Association during his vet school days. Knowing I collect historical Shropshire info, he sent them to me.

Bob’s correspondence with ASRA coincided with the time when Fred was the Association president. The ASRA breed flyer has a quote from Fred, along with many other respected breeders of the day.

I figured it would be appropriate to share the material’s Bob sent.

Thanks Bob!

-Cody Hiemke

Beautiful day at the ranch today! Perfect for sorting some yearling Ewes and ear tagging
03/05/2018

Beautiful day at the ranch today! Perfect for sorting some yearling Ewes and ear tagging

I missed posting last Thursday, and almost did the same today.Last week Judy Groverman Walker agreed to let me post some...
03/01/2018

I missed posting last Thursday, and almost did the same today.

Last week Judy Groverman Walker agreed to let me post some pictures of her and her sister, Karen Virtheer, on these Thursday posts. The photos of Judy and Karen are from a book that Pat Groverman had put together.

For the Grovermans this book was a recording of their youth. For me, I appreciated the chance to see how the Groverman Shropshires changed from the late 60s into the 80s.

Shown here is a photo of Judy and 1780. 1780 was the Champion Yearling Ewe at the 1977 Sonoma County Fair.

After the American Shropshire Registry Association lost the cards that allowed pedigrees to be traced through the years, I decided to make copies of all Fred's papers. Looking up 1780, I first thought the photo was mislabeled because the ewes associated with the 1700 series were born in 1973. However, as I look through the 1976 drop I realized that this was one of the rare purchased ewes the Grovermans had. 1780 was bred by Doug Chambers. The ewe was registered under Judy's name.

More next week.

-Cody Hiemke

02/15/2018
Sheep Ranching: "Sheep" 1954 The Texas Company (Texaco); How Sheep are Raised, Sheared & Cut

I'll admit, I hadn't put much thought into today's throw-back Thursday. Fortunately, Rusty Burgett came to the rescue so I didnt have to think anymore.

Rusty emailed this morning asking if I had seen the following video, and I had.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eva4VDJZSPk

This is a really cool video that also has ties to the post from two weeks ago. Remember the ram that F.W. Shultz imported, Tern Cambridge. Well, he's in this video. The photo I shared two weeks ago was sent to Farrell from the film crew along with a letter thanking him for allowing them to film at Bunker Hill.

Shropshires are featured in this video starting at the 11:28 minute mark. Tern Cambridge makes his appearance at 12:10.

I sure wish Tern Cambridge was frozen in tank somewhere.

- Cody Hiemke

Agriculture: Farming, Ranching playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL897E774CDB19F283 more at http://quickfound.net/links/agriculture_news_and_li...

The photo I’m sharing today is my favorite of all the historical photos I have of Fred.One of the two photos from last w...
02/08/2018

The photo I’m sharing today is my favorite of all the historical photos I have of Fred.

One of the two photos from last week showed Fred’s father, Berndard, with their imported English ram, “California New Type 2”. Interestingly, at the time of CNT2’s import the Grovermans’ eight-five ewe flock was already open or partly open-faced. This was due to a throw-back open-faced ram that Bernard bought from near Eureka, CA in 1946. The Grovermans were at the forefront of moving back to an open-faced Shropshire. This was a necessity for them compared to Midwestern breeders; in California the dried grass seed heads were very problematic on the closed-faced Shropshires.

California New Type 2 arrived to the states in late fall, 1950. The photo shared last week was taken sometime between then and prior to Bernard’s death of a heart attack in October 1951. Bernard never saw the progeny of CNT2.

In his first breeding in late summer 1951, CNT2 bred eighty-six ewes. Three-quarters of his progeny were born in January 1952. CNT2 offered an additional element beyond his open-faced appearance that was needed to pull Shropshires out of their unproductive fad: size. As a mature ram he weighed 315 lbs. He also sheared a nineteen pound fleece as a yearling.

This time in Fred’s past was challenging. His father had passed, they sold off the 8000 chickens, and Fred started vet school in 1952 all while his mother, Ida, was trying to hold things together at home. During the school year Fred lived in the UC Davis sheep barn and worked at the University fire department to make ends meet. A few weeks ago when we visited Fred, he told me that he pulled a night shift at a local feed mill to earn extra cash during the summer.

There is a passage from “The Groverman Legacy” that I like: “Bernard’s breeding program pressed on
by Ida, his widow, and his son Fred with encouragement that fall from an Oregon visitor with a new-found interest in Shropshires – Douglas Chambers.” I suspect few breeders know that Fred and Ida were the two that got Doug started with Shropshire sheep. I’m fortunate to have been given the letters that Fred and Doug wrote to each other decades later. They might show up in one of these throwbacks some day.

This week’s photo pictures Fred holding two of California New Type 2’s sons, with CNT2 looking on. I don’t know much about the relationship Fred had with his dad, but I suspect he instilled the personality traits, work ethic, and volunteerism that we still see in Fred almost seven decades later. I can’t help but draw a connection between CNT2 looking at his progeny with approval, just as Fred’s father would have been looking on over him.

- Cody Hiemke

Today’s throwback Thursday ties in a bunch of scenarios. I chose these photos initially because I knew I would see my fr...
02/01/2018

Today’s throwback Thursday ties in a bunch of scenarios. I chose these photos initially because I knew I would see my friends from Bunker Hill at national sheep industry meetings in San Antonio. Bill and Susan Shultz are progressive Suffolk and commercial ram breeders. Bill’s father Farrell, was a very progressive Shropshire breeder in the mid-1900s. This post brings additional timeliness due to comments earlier this week where a fellow sheep breeder stated it didn’t matter how Shropshire breeders changed from wool blind sheep in the 1950s and 1960s. And lastly, today at national sheep meetings are the genetics stakeholders and National Sheep Improvement Program meetings.

The original Shropshire was a moderate-framed open-faced sheep developed in Southwestern England. American breeders followed a show trend to make a more compact, fatter, and woolier sheep in the early 1900s. English breeders followed this trend since the American export market was very important, but they also maintained the original open-faced moderate-framed “original” Shropshire. Many people think the small wool-blind Shrop was the original – it wasn’t.

The most popular breed of sheep turn of two centuries ago, this wool-blind trend made the sheep impractical for commercial production. There were three forward-thinking breeders in the late 1940s that decided this trend needed to change. Fred Groverman’s father (Bernard), Farrell Shultz, and the McKerrow family in Wisconsin started to import from that larger-framed open-faced English Shropshire population.

The man wearing the jacket in one of these photos is Bernard Groverman. He is standing with his imported ram, New Type II. Bernard passed away before he saw any progeny from this ram. Next week’s photo will show Fred with the progeny. The gentleman in the short sleeves is Farrell, shown with his imported ram Tern Cambridge.

THIS is how these breeders started to change from an unproductive fad to a productive sheep that initially made Shrops the most popular breed of sheep 50 years prior. These people reached within the breed to find impactful sheep. I believe this is an important distinction compared to today’s tactic of reaching outside the breed to find the next GameChangeRR ram.

In a conversation earlier this week and with some fellow breeders here in the national meetings, I argued that - save for Groverman sheep - genetic integrity within the Shropshire breed is gone. There are more non-Shropshire influences (hidden) than Shropshire genetics within registration papers. The American Shropshire Registry Association is no longer a purebred registry program. It’s simply a registry program. It’s a bold statement, but I believe it and I’m okay putting it out there.

I want to thank Fred for his focus in maintaining genetic purity while incorporating modern day tools to select for productivity. He has been the genetic source for a few of us looking to maintain and/or correct Shropshire breed type and purpose. Thanks Fred.

-Cody Hiemke

Address

400 Ormsby Lane
Petaluma, CA
94954

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Tuesday 9am - 7pm
Wednesday 6am - 7pm
Thursday 6am - 7pm
Friday 9am - 7pm
Saturday 9am - 5pm
Sunday 9am - 7pm

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(707) 763-3132

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