grazing Shetlands

The original Shetland flock.

Origins

We have a small registered flock of Shetland Sheep on MacCurdy Farm.  The flock was established on March 2017 with a ram originating out of Chassagne Farm in Puslinch, ON and 3 ewes originating from Dr. Cathy Gallivan’s Springwater Shetlands flock in Deerfield, NB.  The Shetland breed originated on the Shetland isles of Scotland.  The first flock to enter Canada came through Col. G. D. Dailley.  Our flock’s first ram seen in the above picture came from Chassagne Farm, home of the Dailley flock.

Breed Characteristics

Shetland sheep, as we know them, are small bundles of fleece with a hardiness suitable for our climate in Northern, NB.  Often labelled as a primitive ancient breed, Shetlands have a naturally short tail with only 13 vertebrae that does not require docking.  They have smaller feet with a narrow leg and are fleet of foot, which makes for an interesting challenge during shearing, foot trimming, and any other required care.

Natural Colorings

Shetland sheep come in 11 different colorings and as much as 30 separate marking patterns.  Our original ram is listed as black while the three ewes are fawn (1) and grey (2) katmoget.  Shetland sheep markings have traditional names like mioget, shaela, gulmoget, and katmoget.   We selectively breed for a variety of colors so that we have variety when it comes to wool products.  For more information check out the NASSA website.

three ewes

Our fawn katmoget and two grey katmoget ewes.

Lambing

Shetland lambs are small, weighing between 4 – 8 lbs at birth.  Shetlands often have singles in their first pregnancy and can have up to a litter of 5 lambs.  Shetlands are easy lambers, like most heirloom breeds, and have excellent maternal instincts.  They can be seen stomping their foot at any perceived threat to their lambs.  We are currently lambing 10 ewes.

Diet

Shetland sheep are not fussy eaters but prefer grassy hay to hay with a lot of stock/stem.  They prefer seed heads and will eat around stocks on second cut hay.  Our sheep receive a free choice mineral block specifically designed for sheep and constant access to water in buckets.  Before lambing they receive some oats and sileage, which helps their condition.

Storm

Storm, our first ram lamb.

We are currently selling breeding stock after lambs are 6 months of age and plan on sending overstock rams to table or to other breeding programs.  Some rams with nice fleeces are wethered to stay on the farm with us.  Prices range between $200 and $350 per head depending on age and registration status.  Raw wool is available at a fair price and comes skirted (cleaned of debris).  You can contact Justin at 1-506-685-0429 for more information.