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.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wheely Wooly Gracelyn has her first lamb!

Meet Wheely Wooly Moonlight
born April 4th

For those of you who fell in love with Wheely Wooly Gracelyn's fleece and yarn last year, we are very pleased to announce that Gracie had her first lamb! She is loving being a mom and got the hang of it really quick. She tends to little Moonlight gently and sweetly...just as Shetlands are known for. Moonlight was named for the magnificent nearly full moon hanging low in the pre-dawn sky at the moment he was born on a cool, quiet spring night. We think he'll lighten to a lovely soft gray as he ages.

Shetland sheep are known for a lambing rate of 120% to 130%. That's quite low for modern, commercial sheep, but well documented for genuine Shetlands. If you are interested in genuine Shetland sheep, ask about the lambing rate before you buy. If the breeder talks about all the twins and triplets they've had, or higher lambing rates of 170% or more in their "purebred" flocks, you know something is fishy. Higher lambing rates come through crossbreeding, a strategy well employed in modern commercial flocks. Those higher lambing percentages are much appreciated and desirable in commercial flocks, but are not fitting for hill sheep like Shetlands who must survive in wicked rain and wind without shelter or supplemental feed, or shepherds who assist with the extra mothering. A lower lambing rate is plain and simply, how the sheep survived and in fact continue to thrive on the Shetland Islands to this day. Wheely Wooly Farm is dedicated and committed to the genuine Shetland sheep, because the rewards are fruitful and abundant! So far, our lambing rates are consistent at 125%, which fascinates me!

Gracie's yarn sold quickly last year, and I know some of you have hoped for more. She won't be sheared again until June or so, but now with her little lamb, perhaps we will have more soft, silky fleece like she gives in the future!

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