Shetlands

Shetland BreedYou’ve probably been thinking about owning sheep for awhile. About how nice it would be to have serene, fluffy, content, and colorful animals grazing in your pasture. Shetlands are the sheep you’ve been dreaming about.

If you’re a hand-spinner or knitter, Shetlands have wonderful wool. It is soft, fine, silky, and durable, and a delight to spin and knit. Shetland wool can be made into a fine-enough shawl to be drawn through a wedding ring!

 

History

Shetland sheep for saleShetland sheep’s roots go back more than 1,000 years, probably to sheep brought to the Shetland Islands by Vikings. They belong to the Northern European short-tailed group, which also contains the Finnsheep, Norwegian Spaelsau, Icelandics, and others.

With assistance of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, G.D. “Colonel” Dailley from Ontario, Canada imported 27 ewes and 4 rams from the Shetland Islands into North America in 1980. This helped preserve this primitive and rare breed.

 

Colorful

Shetland sheep for saleShetland wool has the widest range of colors and varieties of any breed with 11 main colors ranging from white to grey to black and from light brown, reddish brown to dark brown with lots of different types of markings.

 

Easy lambing

Because Shetlands are a primitive breed, they have successfully reproduced without any help for centuries. During lambing season, you will sometimes find new lambs in your pastures nursing vigorously and wagging their tails. Even better, you don’t have to dock tails.

 

Shetland sheep for saleHardy and economical to feed

Shetlands need little care, unlike some sheep breeds. They have retained their ability to survive well without intervention. You can feed 10-12 sheep on a bale of hay per day. Shetlands are calm, docile, playful and easy to manage.

 

Small and manageable size

Shetland’s smaller size, make them very easy to handle. Ewes usually weigh about 75-100 pounds with rams weighing about 25 pounds more. They are ideal animals for children since they are calm and docile. Some Shetlands wag their tails when petted.