We have a new addition to Sheepy Hollow Farm…a new registered Shetland ram, Testiamo (aka ‘Mac’). He’s a beautiful 7 month old ram sheep. He’s ‘moorit’ in color, that is, a warm chocolate brown. His pic below is of him recently sheered! Notice his handsome developed horns already. Well, I’ve already skirted, washed, picked and carded his fleece. Just haven’t decided what to do with it yet!
Here’s a bit of info about Shetland sheep. Shetlands are the smallest member of the short-tailed group of sheep related to Romanov, Finn and Icelandic sheep. They were probably brought to the Shetland Islands by Viking settlers over 1000 years ago. Like other ‘primitive’ breeds, the Shetland’s hearty characteristics (small size, slower growth rate and ability to sustain themselves on a meager diet) have allowed them to thrive in a wide variety of harsh conditions.
Shetland rams are horned and weigh around 90 – 125 pounds. Ewes are typically polled and weigh on average of 75 – 100 pounds. They are fine-boned and have a fluke-like tail, which requires no docking. They produce fine, light flavored meat and a multi-purpose wool. Shetlands are the most colorful of all breeds, having 11 named colors and 30 some marking patterns, most of which have retained their Gaelic names. Shetlands come in a true strong black; shades of gray or silver, browns and tans and whites. The variation of colors and patterns is a delight for handspinners. Their fleece varies from a more primitive dual coat to a single coat that is fine and crimpy. Shetland is a multi-purpose fine wool, from beautiful sweaters to fine lacy shawls. Spinners find it easy to spin either washed or ‘in the grease’ as Shetlands do not produce as much lanolin as some other fine wool breeds. The average fleece is 2 – 4 pounds with an average staple length of 4 inches.
Shetlands are docile and friendly, often ‘wagging’ their tails when petted. They’re also hardy, easy lambers with plenty of milk and a strong mothering instinct. They forage well on small acreage. I invite you to consider Shetlands for your flock too!