Reg. Shetlands and Purebred Cochin Bantams

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Shetland Sheep are an undomesticated or feral breed. Basically this means that they were left alone in the wild and allowed to fend for themselves, which makes them one of the few breeds of sheep left that are exactly the same as their wild counterparts. The deeper meaning of this is that they have very few problems. They are wonderful mothers who hardly ever have trouble lambing (they generally have twins but can have quadruplets!). They shed naturally and are very hardy during the winter months.
So many sheep like Shetland are hazardously endangered and not much is holding them from extinction. Luckily through much effort the Shetland breed has come back from a rare status and its population is now on the incline. Sadly, this can not be said for many of the other breeds. Why would Shetlands ever be endangered? Well, despite their adorable appearance and their charming personalities Shetlands are very small. This size makes them less profitable in the meat market. When looking at Shetland meat several observations can be made: there is much less of it than the larger commercial breeds that are breed specifically for meat, and its undomesticated background has left the meat with lots of taste and appeal for those who eat it. What happened was that Shetlands and the other smaller sheep were not raised for meat because they couldn't compete so the population dropped with new domesticated sheep. Their wool, which is wonderful but on a totally different level than most other breeds was not favored, somewhat because they lack consistency throughout the wool. Again allowing other breeds to stand in front of them and take the profit. However, Shetlands have a beautiful fleece that creates wonderful products, the best known is the fair isle patterns, and can pull in quite a profit.
In the current times, many people are starting to pay attention to the smaller breeds that hold historical value and still have the wonderful flavor that many meats today lack. People have started to focus on and breed for the heritage breeds and some(defiantly not all) are making a comeback into the world. This does not relate to only sheep. Many chickens that were previously endangered have become more popular with the growth of backyard flocks, as well as cows, horses, pigs, etc.
Hopefully the people of the world will continue to promote the more remote breeds and bring them back into the mainstream of things.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sterling Fair

Sterling fair was a huge sucsess today! Everyone did really well and the apple crisp was delicious. We started of the day when Katie came over with sheep transportation. From there we loaded all three of my sheep in with the four of hers. To say the least, getting Shetlands into a truck that is three feet off the ground is not easy. Vaughan is easy enough to pick up and throw into the truck bed, however when it comes time to get the two ewes in, the fun begins. Finally after much protesting and manuvering everyone was in and on their way to a fair.
Once there we claimed pens and did a last cleaning. Shetlands keep a lot of wool on them for show, which means that I have to get all the vegitative matter out of the wool. Because this is a very tedious activity, a blower is sometimes used to get most of the hay out. Half way through blowing Izzy out, because she decided to stick her butt in some hay, the blower(and the rest of the power) went out. Ignoring the blower, I began to hand pick, Izzy until all of a sudden it came back alive. I jumped and watched the ground around the blower become an explosion of dirt and grass. This event only took a few seconds but I thought it deserved to be mentioned.
As for show results:
Reserve Champion Fitting and Showmanship(after taking 1st place in intermiediate F&S) with Izzy
Champion Shetland Ewe with Izzy
Reserve Champion Ram with Vaughan
1st place yearling ewe with Izzy
2nd place yearling ewe with Bea
1st place pair with Izzy and Bea
1st place with Vaughan

Izzy with her Champion Ewe ribbon

Izzy in the Grand Champion drive

I was a little bit tiered and Izzy didn't seem to mind being a pillow...
As I said, it was a very sussesful day.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Vaughan is my ram lamb who I bought from a local breeder this spring. He is just a puppy dog and will literally just follow me around and ask for scratches. His coloring is called Shaela Gulmoget. Basically that means that he is color very close to black but has highlights of white or gray, which I call his old lady affect. Gulmoget means that he is darker on top than he is underneath(his belly is white). As sweet as he is at home he panics at fairs. Trying to get him to stand still in the show ring is always an adventure! He is going to be breed this fall to my two yearling ewes and a friend's Shetlands. I'm really looking forward to his lambs in the spring, hopefully I will get some fun patterns from him!

Vaughan's baby picture from Ridgeway Farm! Isn't he so cute!

Show Season

Show season started early July for me at the North East Youth Sheep Show which was held at the Big E. We then proceeded to Bolton Fair(my local county fair), Middlesex 4-H fair, and Woodstock fair. Tomorrow is another big day at the Sterling Fair, the last fair before Topsfield(the last sheep show of the season). Overall I have done well at most of the fairs, Izzy received champion Shetland yearling ewe in the open show @ Bolton and Bea received the champion Shetland yearling ewe in the junior show @ Bolton. Vaughan, my junior ram lamb, received reserve champion ram in the Woodstock junior show. When show season is officially over :( I will post all of my results from the year.
North East Youth Sheep Show, fitting and showmanship with Izzy.

Izzy and Bea in a pair of yearling ewes at Bolton Fair.
Bea in the champion Ewe drive at Bolton.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Welcome to the Farm!

Our small farm in Bolton, MA contains a small flock of Shetland sheep. Shetland sheep are a heritage breed which are raised mainly for their wool. They have naturally small tails that do not need to be docked and personalities that can melt the heart of anyone they meet. Along with the sheep we have a flock of 20 bantams, mostly cochins, we have a bearded collie named Corey and a Border Collie named Marble, a cat named Daisy, our Morgan horse Indy, and last but not least a Beta Fish.



Bea is the white Ewe lamb and Izzy is the blackish ewe lamb.

Izzy has turned into a very pretty grey and Bea has remained a creamy color but has lost her dark splotches.

This is Corey our Bearded Collie.

Marble is the handsome Border Collie on the left and Corey is the puppy on the right. Marble's hobbies include
licking trees (this may be the strangest thing a dog has ever done). Corey likes to be happy and spends her days lying by the fire or in the dirt (depending on which one is available).

Indy is our Morgan mare, she is an old girl but comes from great bloodlines and is the sweetest thing on the planet.

These are the pictures from the chicks this spring. It seems I havn't been taking a lot of pictures lately. More to come!

 Welcome to Wild Air Farm!