Shetland Sheep

We are Members of both NASSA “The North American Shetland Sheep breeders Association” & NCWGA “Natural Colored Wool Growers Association.” It is our goal to breed and raise quality Shetland Sheep.

We are working with only NASSA registered breeding stock. We are also are working towards duel registration with NCWGA. Our goal is to produce healthy, vigorous individuals that meet the 1927 Standard for Shetland sheep.

 

This small, hardy, heritage sheep breed is a great choice for a small farm, whether you are interested in a few sheep as pets, and/or a source of fiber, meat, or even milk. The soft but slightly crisp feel, and the rich variety of natural colors make Shetland fleeces in demand among hand spinners, knitters, and weavers.

Brief History of the breed

The Shetland breed likely descends from ancient Scandinavian sheep, and it is a member of the northern short tailed sheep breed family. Historically, only a few Shetland sheep were exported, and it was not until recently that large populations were established on the British mainland and in other countries. Though fleece continues to be the breed’s primary product today, Shetlands in Britain are also finding a commercial niche for crossing with Cheviots and other breeds to produce market lambs. Shetland sheep are fine boned and small in size. Rams weigh 90–125 pounds, and ewes weigh 75–100 pounds. Most rams have spiraled horns, while most ewes are polled. Shetland sheep are calm and charming in disposition, docile, and intelligent.

The Shetland breed is especially prized for its wool, which is fine, soft, and strong. Fleeces average two to four pounds and vary in crimp from wavy to straight. Other characteristics of the fleece vary according to recent selection history. Populations of Shetlands in Britain, for example, have been selected for more standardized characteristics. These sheep tend to be single coated with fiber diameter averages of 23 microns and staple lengths of two to five inches. Landrace populations, such as those on the island of Foula, include a greater range of fleece types. These sheep may be double coated, with coarser outer wool of 30 40 microns and finer inner coat wool of 12 20 microns. Eleven colors and thirty color patterns are recognized in the Shetland breed. This diversity is a great asset both to the breed and to the fiber artisans who enjoy using its fleeces. A few importations of Shetland sheep are documented in North America during the past two centuries. For example, Thomas Jefferson, owned a small flock of Shetland sheep at Monticello. None of the historic flocks, however, survived as purebred populations. Most Shetland sheep in North America descend from a 1980 importation of 32 sheep by the late G.D. Dailley of Ontario, Canada. The North American Shetland Sheep Registry began keeping a North American flockbook in 1991.

The North American Shetland Sheep breeders Association was formed in 1994 to promote the breed and to support the growing number of Shetland breeders in North America. The Shetland breed has prospered in recent years to the extent that it is no longer considered endangered by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in Britain. Despite this success, there are concerns about the loss of genetic diversity within the breed. For example, white sheep now predominate on the British mainland and several of the color varieties have become rare. Though the Shetland sheep seems to have a secure future, North American breeders have an important role to play, not only through breed promotion on this continent, but also in the conservation of its entire range of colors, markings, fleece types, and other characteristics.

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We strive to breed to the 1927 Standard

The 1927 Breed Standard Description and Scale of Points - [Score out of 100]

  • General character & appearance - Horned or hornless - [9]

  • Head - Good width between ears, tapering rapidly to base of nose, which should be broad and with little taper to the muzzle, hollow between cheeks and nose well marked. - [9]

  • Face - Medium length of face from eyes to muzzle, nose prominent but not Roman, small mouth. - [5]

  • Eyes - Full, bright, and active look. - [3]

  • Ears - Fine, medium size, set well back, carried slightly above the horizontal. - [4]

  • Neck - Full, tapers into a fairly broad chest. - [4]

  • Shoulders - Well set, top level with back. - [6]

  • Chest - Medium width and deep. - [5]

  • Back - Level, with as much width as possible. - [9]

  • Ribs - Well sprung and well ribbed up - [4]

  • Rump - Good width with well-turned rounded hips - [5]

  • Tail - Fluke tail. Wool at root forming the broad rounded part, and tapering suddenly to barely covered fine point. This is a strong character, and any crossing is easily made out by it. Length varies according to the size of sheep, rarely exceeds six inches, or thereby. - [9]

  • Legs of mutton - Light, but very fine in quality. - [4]

  • Skin - Varies according to colour of wool. In white no blue or black colouring - [2]

  • Wool - Extra fine and soft texture, longish, wavy, and well closed. Wool on forehead and poll tapering into neck, likewise wool on cheeks. Colours: white, black or brown, moorit (from reddish to fawn). Greys (including Shaela). Other known colours - Mirkface (brownish spots on face); Katmoget (dark under parts from muzzle to tail and legs), Burrit (light underparts); also Blaget, Flecket, and Sholmet. - [20]

  • Carriage - Alert and nimble, with a smart active gait. - [2]

Total Points - 100

Disqualifications

  • Long heavy tail, broad to point.

  • Bad wool, coarse and open.

  • Very coarse wool on breeches.

  • Deformities of jaws.

  • Undersized animals.

  • Defective coloured or badly shaped animals as sires.

  • White hairs in moorit and black, and dark hairs in white.

OUR BREEDING OBJECTIVES

  • Personality  

    • Shetlands are small to medium sized sheep that are a very manageable size.  They do not have a strong herding instinct, are alert and (dare I say it?) smart about their surroundings.  They have distinct personalities, ranging from ridiculously friendly to spunky.  The majority of our sheep are halter-trained; the ewes are friendly, and the rams are respectful.

  • High quality fleece  

    • The fleece from our sheep is in the range of patterns and colors characteristic of the breed. Shetland fleece are in high demand among hand-spinners, knitters and felters.

    • Although we do not coat our sheep, we strive for clean fleece. 

  • Milkiness  

    • Shetlands have excellent mothering instincts, lamb easily, and produce ample milk for the lambs, and more for the milking parlor.  

  • Parasite resistance  

    • As drug resistance in parasites is becoming an ever-greater concern, we are selecting for lambs that do not require frequent treatment.  This involves a careful system of pasture rotation to minimize exposure to the parasites and maintaining high quality forage. 

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2018 Kitsap County Fair

Shetland Sheep Show

These videos are for education on showing sheep.

This was my first time showing the sheep and wanted to record the experience to learn from.

These video's you'll see all the competitors in the Kitsap Fair.

I want to say Thank You to all Participant's of the show.

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