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Shetland Sheep Facts


66 Devine West Rd.
Erb Settlement, New Brunswick, Canada
E5P 3E8
Phone:  506-433-3301 or 506-434-3302
email:  info@dwranch.ca

 

 

 
Shetland wool is world-renowned.  They shear about 2-4 lbs and have a staple length of 2-4.5 inches. 
Comes in a wide range of colors, 11 main colors as well as 30 markings.
Shetlands are one of the smallest of the British sheep. Rams usually weigh 90 to 125 pounds and ewes about 75 to 100 pounds. Rams usually have beautiful spiral horns, whereas the ewes are typically (naturally) polled. They are fine-boned and agile and their naturally short, fluke-shaped tails that do not require docking.

They are a calm, docile and easy-to-manage breed. Most respond well to attention and some even wag their tails when petted!

Although Shetlands are small and relatively slow growing, they maintain natural hardiness, thriftiness, easy lambing, adaptability and longevity. Shetlands survived for centuries under harsh conditions and on a meager diet, although they do very well under less rigorous conditions. Having retained many of their primitive survival instincts, they are easier to care for than many of today's commercial breeds.


A very important characteristic of the Shetlands is their beautiful wool, upon which the world-renowned Shetland woolen industry is based. Shetland wool is one of the finest and softest of any British breed, with a Bradford count usually in the upper 50’s to lower 60’s and an average fiber diameter of 23 microns.

 

This soft, yet strong and durable wool is a delight to spin and is ideal for knitting. It was traditionally used in Shetland shawls so fine they could be drawn through a wedding ring! Canadian Sheepbreeders Association

Fleeces usually weigh between 2 to 4 pounds and have a staple length of 2 to 4.5 inches- this can vary by fleece type. Occasionally, the wool will shed in the late spring as it did generations ago when it was "rooed" or pulled off by hand.

Shetland wool comes in one of the widest ranges of colors of any breed. Besides the white, which dyes very well, other colors include light grey, grey, emsket (dusky bluish-grey), shaela (dark steely-grey resembling black frost), musket (pale greyish-brown), fawn, moorit (shades between fawn and dark reddish-brown), dark brown and pure black. There are these 11 main colors as well as 30 markings, many still bearing their Shetland dialect names.

Unfortunately, many of these colors and markings have become quite rare as white wool is dominant and has historically commanded better prices.

 

 

 

 

Memberships

Canadian Livestock Records Corporation | Canadian Llama and Alpaca Association | North American Shetland Sheep Association

Canadian Cashmere Producers Association | Alpaca Canada | Canadian Sheep Breeders Association | New Brunswick Sheep Breeders Association

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