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Sheep Color Genetics
Sheep Health Issues
|Why raise Shetland Sheep? They were Zack's idea in the beginning. I knew nothing about their wool or anything else, but I wanted to get started raising some type of sheep, so we went off to visit a couple farms. Didn't take long before I was as enthused as Zack about these small, colorful sheep, and in September 1998 we hurriedly fenced a small winter paddock, built a barn with the help of our local spinning guild, bought some hay, and were suddenly shepherds!
Shetland sheep are really ideal for small farms with little or no experience raising animals:
Darling, two weeks before her twins were born in April 2001
- They are small and easy to handle when necessary
- They are extremely hardy, enduring very cold, wet or snowy weather through to very hot weather
- They are very thrifty, requiring much less feed than larger breeds
- Likewise, they require relatively little pasture--we currently have 42 Shetlands grazing less than 6 acres
- They are very easy lambers--we've never had to assist a ewe during lambing
- Shetland lamb tails are naturally short so they don't need docking
- Shetlands are very healthy--only once in 3 years have we needed to give any medications to a Shetland, and that was a minor infection in a lamb
- Their wool is truly delightful to spin, and comes in an incredible variety of natural colors, as well as two distinct wool types
- For those who enjoy puzzles, Shetland color genetics is a fun challenge
- Finally, the sheep that don't measure up as breeding stock make wonderfully mild, tender lamb or mutton
|The question shouldn't be|
"Why raise Shetlands?"
"Why raise any other sheep?!?"