Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles

Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles! Our farm mission is to enjoy and promote the wonderful diversity of the Shetland breed by fully utilizing to the best of our ability all they have to offer historically. We believe the best preservation and management of this breed includes it's full spectrum of history. We encourage old and new shepherds alike to join in the fun by engaging in fiber arts, especially spinning and knitting, as this breed is so intimately linked with those aspects of the arts.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So what IS good breeding?

Not going backwards! If you lose something in the pairing of two sheep, two sheep that have nice characteristics, you've not accomplished good breeding. This is time to analyze your program. So if you lose strong backs, or proper expressions or correct hind quarters or even bone density or size of sheep, you've lost something. You've gone backwards. Good breeding will keep the features of the parents. Outstanding breeding keeps the features of the parents AND advances a desired characteristic.

Sheep with weak toplines, dull expressions, incorrect hind quarters, beefy shoulders, heavy bone or wrinkly noses lost something in the pairing of the parents. If a breeder claims that they are just breeding for fleece, and the rest can/will be fixed later...think door to door salesman again!

If super short fleeces are the "true" Shetland sheep, it would be easy to get that while maintaining Shetland conformation and expression characteristics. You would be able to do it without heavy "culling".

Here in the midwest, you'll find a lot of these problems, especially weak toplines. It runs like a disease among flocks because breeders propagating sheep for short fleece haven't paid attention to these other details. If it's so easy to "fix", why don't they? When IS later?

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