Members run regional workshops, social events, flock visits, stands at wool shows and craft events, not to mention showing sheep at agricultural shows the length and breadth of the Country. With its delicate flavor it doesn’t need elaborate preparation or sauces. An ancient breed, the roots of Shetland sheep go back more than 1,000 years probably to sheep brought to the Shetland Islands (off the Northern Scottish coast) by Viking settlers. Their good and docile temperament is also a major attraction for keeping this breed. Shetland’s have a reputation for their very fine, soft wool that can be produced in over 30 different varieties of colors. Small amounts of wool are present on the forehead and cheeks. Rams can also be polled. It is one of the highest in Omega-3 fatty acids (if grass-fed/finished) and easy to digest. Folks have passed Shetland sweaters down from generation to generation. The breed is highly valued for high quality wool production, and their wool has historically been a valuable commodity. In 1980, the first Shetland sheep made their way to North America by way of Canada when Col. Dailley imported a flock. The ears are small and alert. This also produces leaner, milder meat than modern breeds. They are hardy, thrifty, highly adaptable, and have the ability to thrive on low levels of nutrition. Lively lambs – have a strong will to live, get up quickly and feed; good outside survival. Ewes are usually polled, but can also have smaller horns that curve backward. It is also fluke shaped meaning broad at the base, tapering for three quarters of its length, down to a flattened tip. These sheep are great foragers and blackberries are one of their favorite delicacies. Purebred Shetland meat is highly regarded on taste, but is slow to mature and wethers are often run through to shearlings. As with other primitive breeds, Shetlands tend to store much of their body fat around the organs rather than solely in the muscle. The breed society for the Shetland Islands is the Shetland Flock Book Society. Considered to be the second most productive British breed, their prolificacy is about 160%. However, there is a range from 10 to 20 microns for neck and shoulder wool, 25 to 35 microns for britch wool. Quaint Shetland dialect names such as shaela, emsket, and moorit still mark the 11 main whole colors, as well as the 30 recognized markings like smirslet, mirkface, and flecket. Hogget - Hoggs or Hoggets are aged between 1 and 2 years and kill out at 16-20kgs in April/May. (15-20 kg), April/May – extends the meat season. A special feature of the Shetland’s elegant looking head is a straight facial profile with a somewhat dished faced. Try it marinated in olive oil with rosemary, lavender, and garlic. Their fine-boned build and small feet mean that they do less damage to grasses and meadow plants than heavier breeds. Shetland “lamb” is from animals less than 1 year old. The breed is highly valued for high quality wool production, and their wool has historically been a valuable commodity. The Shetland Sheep breed are primarily kept these days for their ability to survive on land that would otherwise be deemed useless as it is infertile. Shetland lamb is ideal for fast preparation. Shetland meat is mild in flavor and low in saturated fats. Copyright © 2020 The Shetland Sheep Society - website by TVW | Privacy & Cookies. We love people to get involved in the Society directly, especially on a local basis. As a pure breed, Shetland sheep produce some of the highest quality lean meat in the world and more efficiently on grass alone than almost any other breed. *.*. The eyes are set well apart. Rooed fleece is amongst the softest because the fibers have no harsh cut ends as occurs with sheared fleece. And then there are the stunning horns on a Shetland ram! The staple length can be from 2 to 10 inches. Thrifty – can thrive on poor quality grazing; a higher stocking density can be used on fertile pasture; useful for conservation grazing. Many think Shetland wool does not feel itchy against their skin like other wools. The hosiery industry was based upon the exceptionally fine quality of Shetland wool. The soft colorful pelts can be used as rugs, chair cushions, clothing, and in various crafts. The meat from a Shetland sheep is also considered to be … Wide range of colors and patterns – can be used undyed to maintain its natural softness. Shetlands are one of the smallest of the British sheep. Our sheep even dig through the snow to forage! “The Journal of Agriculture” from 1831 says: “Stockings fabricated from Shetland wool have been known to sell for six guineas a pair.” Other works mention these stockings were preferred by the Royal family. Many people who don’t like lamb or mutton absolutely love Shetland meat! Shetland sheep are primarily raised for meat, wool, and conservation grazing purposes. Purebred Shetland sheep tend to shed their fleece in spring. Shetland sheep roots go back more than 1,000 years, probably to sheep brought to the Shetland Islands by Viking settlers. Stews using dark ale are fabulous! Classified as a primitive or “unimproved” breed, Shetlands are a small, fine-boned sheep. Purebred Shetland meat is highly regarded on taste, but is slow to mature and wethers are often run through to shearlings. The Shetland sheep are usually of good-natured animals. * Quality breeding stock is occasionally available. They do not need expensive feed concentrates during winter months. Today, Shetland sheep are raised for meat, wool and conservation grazing. Mutton is over two years old, the real gourmet mutton being a four or five year old sheep – not much appreciated in the U.S. thus very difficult to find, in Ireland it is considered essential for stewed or braised dishes. They are the Homonymous shape; reaching a full sweeping curve by maturity. Born with a tail that is much shorter than modern breeds (having only 13 vertebrae whereas commercial sheep have 26 vertebrae) no docking is required! Purebred lambs dress out around 18-27 lbs. Rams usually weigh 90 to 125 pounds and ewes about 75 to 100 pounds. Shetland wool is very soft and fine, (23 to 31 Microns), with one of the widest ranges of natural colors of any sheep in the world. Hogget is between one and two years of age – this term is rarely used off-farm; the meat may be cooked the same as lamb and is even more flavorful. Shetland Sheep Information Shetland wool is very soft and fine, (23 to 31 Microns), with one of the widest ranges of natural colors of any sheep in the world. Hoggs dress out around 35-45 lbs. Shetland Sheep are a small, calm breed of sheep — ideal for a small flock! Shetland meat – mild and lean with superb flavor and low in lipid fat, excellent for low cholesterol diets. The best part about Shetlands is their loving personalities, making them ideal farm animals as well as great pets. In fact, historically it’s been said that the higher quality Shetland wool was produced by animals on the poorer forage in rough hilly terrain. Years of sheep research at the library, on web sites, and from helpful shepherds around the country who generously shared their knowledge and lovely wool samples, along with a new-found interest in the animal fiber arts all went into choosing our resident breed of sheep. Described as having “outstanding flavor”, Shetland meat is sweet, rich, and dark with fine texture. Most Shetland sheep are a single color however some have exciting marking patterns. The breed society for the Shetland Islands is the Shetland Flock Book Society. Shetland fleeces weigh from 2 to 5 pounds. Most Shetland sheep are a single color however some have exciting marking patterns. Milky mothers – hoggs will rear twins and mature ewes can rear triplets. Shetland mutton is absolutely delicious cooked slowly and perhaps marinaded. Research shows a definite correlation between lanolin production and the flavor of the fat. Their smaller size also makes them easier to handle and manage – ewes weighing around 80 pounds, rams about 25 pounds more. Lamb is up to one year of age – spring lamb is under five months old. Multiple births are common – twins with occasional triplets. Shetland sheep are ideal candidates for Holistic Land Management practices. When given a better diet they tend to thrive. See the Sale Barn for a current list *.*.*. The upper portion is wool covered with hair at the tip. The Shetland's high meat-to-bone ratio means that carcasses can achieve a killing out percentage of more than 50%. The breed has more colors and patterns than any other breed with eleven whole colors and more than 30 recognized markings have been identified. Joining our friendly society gives you access to our on-line Flock Book, monthly eNews, quarterly Breed Magazine, Members’ Facebook page and so much more. Shetland wool has an amazing variety of colors and patterns, more than any other breed! Shetland lamb is ideal for quick preparation.