group of Shetland SheepPainting of Shetland SheepShetland Sheep in snow
Bryn Meadow Farm
registered Shetland Sheep
& Light Blue Cochin Bantams   

 

Nestled in the Champlain Valley Vermont sits the home to some of the most gentle and beautiful of Shetland Sheep.  The petite, but hardy, Shetland Sheep has come from Scotland to reside on our farm.

Our original flock was purchased as "models" for our artist farm manager's watercolors.  But these "walking pillows" soon became more fun than painting pictures.
 

Shetland Sheep

About Us

We started with no knowledge about caring for sheep.  With the help of "sheep friends" and the breeders we purchased from, we have matured into sheep people.

90% of our fleeces were judged "premium" at Rhinebeck, N.Y. at the 2004 show.  All our fleece was judged "premium" in 2006.  Our yearling Ram, Christopher, took "champion" in colored primitive bread fleece.

We have emphasized developing soft colored fleeces and pet-temperament personalities.


History of the Shetland Sheep

Shetland Sheep come from the Shetland Isles, which lie in the northern Atlantic above mainland Scotland.  This breed shares a heritage with other Nordic Sheep.  It is speculated that these sheep were dispersed throughout northern Europe by the Vikings.

Shetland Sheep are known for their extremely "fine" fleece.  Their fleece is so fine, that it is a wedding tradition in the Isles to make a shawl for the bride which can be drawn through a wedding ring.  Shetland Sheep are the smallest of domesticated sheep.

All of these animals are known for their very hardy and thrifty constitutions. Some Shetlands are known to subsist on seaweed.  Both males and females of these Nordic breeds can have horns.  By and large though, Shetland ewes are born "polled" (without horns).  The tails of these Nordic breeds do not need to be "docked" (cut off) as is customary with other types of sheep.

Shetland Sheep named Babe
  babe in a bucket

The Shetland experienced near extinction when the industrial revolution and synthetic fibers decreased the need for all wools, and especially the colored wools.  The decline in the need for fine "natural" wools resulted in a drastic fall-off in the Shetland's numbers.  In Great Britain, several conservancies were established to help in the Shetland Sheep's recovery.

In 1980, Colonel Dailley of Canada joined in the effort to save this breed.  He introduced the first flock of Shetlands into North America.

Linda and Tut Doane, of Randolph Vermont, spent five years getting the clearance for the breed to be brought into the United States. In 1986 they succeeded in crossing the border with 63 registered Shetlands.

Shetland Sheep triplets
  triplets

Care and Feeding

With all of us involved with busy schedules, the Shetland's self-sufficiency is very welcome.  They can manage with little guidance, but they thrive on attention.  A real joy can be had with these animals by just sitting and "being."  They allow for time to just sit with them and leisurely "be" with your animals. 

As mentioned, we learned as we went.  Our first five sheep survived our ignorance, much as our children did.....not much the worse for the wear.  We did learn it's very important to buy from reputable breeders.  A good breeder is concerned that the new owner succeed in their endeavor.

Remember, these sheep are not hot house roses.  As previously mentioned, this breed of sheep does not need a lot of specialized care.  Just like any pet, they need yearly shots and vet care.  There are vets in all localities that can come to your home for a very reasonable fee.

As for shearing, you can try your hand, or have a local shearer do the job.  They also need their hooves trimmed once or twice a year.  As for housing, our first sheep managed nicely in a 14' x 8' enclosure in our barn.  We erected a temporary electric net fence powered by a portable charger.  In time we put a more permanent fence in place.

Shetland Sheep named Iris
  the infamous - IRIS

The 3 foot net fence probably would have sufficed, had not Iris been about. Iris, admittedly has been the bane of our existence.  She has taught us many lessons, mostly those of patience.  Fortunately, for her she has some of the most beautiful of fleeces, and gorgeous lambs.  Firstly, Iris can scale anything up to approximately 5'5".  When feeling trapped, all sheep will jump a great deal higher than one might imagine.  All sheep when approached rapidly, will immediately assume everyone and anything will be a hungry wolf looking for a meal.  But if approached in a slow and gentle manner they will gladly not behave as though you are an axe murderer.

All our sheep are raised in "the natural method" - no antibiotics in feed or GMO's.  Our animals are primarily on pasture, when able.

2006 Lambs
We're waiting for the stork. Delivery due in early May.

Fleeces

Iris's lovely fleece
Shetland Sheep fleece from Lacy

Many others available, including Boo Baby's fawn fleece.  Fleeces range from $18 - $26/lb. plus shipping and 6% tax.

Roving & Pelts

Roving generally runs $2/oz. plus shipping and 6% tax.

Many others available.

Please remember, we are always happy to answer any and all questions. We want you to enjoy your sheep as much as we enjoy ours.

Prices:

Fleeces

$18 to $26/lb
Queen Size Batts tufted in muslin $99 ea
Pelts $75 ea

6% VT tax and shipping are additional

 

Please Note:  We use strict precautions to ensure our animals are healthy and free of disease.  Sheep purchased from us are up to date with all their medical care.  If you have visited other farms recently, please do not be offended when we provide you with shoe covers.


Contact Information
  • Bloodline records and fleece samples are available on request.

  • We will make deliveries within 200 miles for a charge. We will assist you in making arrangement for deliveries of greater distances.

  • All fleeces, roving, batts and pelts are shipped by the US Mail or UPS at an additional charge.

Look for us in 2006 at:

Telephone
802-425-5570

Fax
802-425-3570

Postal Address
Bryn Meadow Farm
Atten:  Elysabethe James, Manager
3960 Spear St.
Charlotte,  VT 05445

email
BRYNMDOW@GMAVT.NET

 

For More Information:

2006 Bryn Meadow Farm.  All rights reserved.

Updated 05/19/2006 12:36 AM
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