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.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Midwest Breeders

For the new shepherds looking to get away from the camp style short, bodybuilding sheep, check out two midwest breeders with outstanding flocks: Bluff Country Shetlands and Windswept Farm. Both of these farms have lots of pictures of what Shetland expression and wool should look like. They are absolutely dreamy sheep!! I would LOVE adding these sheep to my flock! Windswept has a horn guarantee, which is so great for new shepherds! Many farms in the midwest not only do not provide that, but will readily sell you fatal horns, and fatal horn bloodlines. Buyer beware!

In fact, on that topic, two rams at the WI Sheep and Wool Festival definitely disturbed me. One had fatal horns nearly to the skin, and was being sold "in transit" as a breeding ram. GULP!!! You wouldn't believe who that one belonged to!!!! The other ram was not being shown, and was "in transit" but called a "display" sheep. He had a nice, but too wide head, nice horns, absolutely queer fleece on him that looked more rambouillet-like yet super short, and huge bone. His leg bones were soooooo thick and heavy, his pasterns were breaking down. Clearly, he was in ongoing pain. He, too, was being sold as a "breeding" ram to a new farm with an "outstanding" fleece. I was shocked. No matter HOW much you like the fleece, you should never breed fatal horns or broken down bones.

Edit: Walking around the pens in Jefferson Friday night, I was even more confident that Wheely Wooly Lerwick is a fine ram is Wheely Wooly Wink and Wheely Wooly Pumpkin. Last year's competition was easy. This year, people brought sheep that were a little better, but there was still much room for improvement...sheep way too small and way too large, for instance. However, if these two farms mentioned above would have been in a ram class, I'm not so confident anymore! I'd have true competition to worry about!

'Nother edit!!: Silly me! My ewe, Honey is descended from Bluff Country Patriot, MSSBA's Grand Champion Ram back a few years. Honey's got it! She has an excellent level top line, a bright expression, is the correct size, and has a LOVELY fleece that makes me melt! You can see Honey's fleece on my blog backaways...I have lovely pictures of her locks still on her, and of the amazing color dynamics you can get in Shetlands. She is a high quality ewe.

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