Diary

Shetland cattleRSS feed

Posted: Saturday 9 October, 2010

by Rosemary at 8:35am in Cattle 1 comment Add your own

Regular readers will know that we have bought two Shetland heifers - Breeze and Blizzard. Their breeder contacted me this week to say that he plans to ship them around the 21st October, weather permitting. If the weather is too bad, the boats don't sail.

We're preparing the byre for their arrival. I intend to house them for a couple of weeks, so that I can hand feed them and halter train them - I'd rather do it at 7 months and at two years, when they calve. Although they don't get very big - 44" to 48" at the shoulder - there's no point in making it harder than it needs to be.

In preparation, we visited Barry and Cath Allen this week, while we were in Cumbria. Barry is Secretary of the Shetland Cattle Breeders' Association and has been very helpful to me. He and Cath have four cows - two red and white, two back and white - three calves, two bullocks and a bull. The oldest cow is 19 and has had 15 calves. She was quite remakable - her udder was still high and tight. In fact, all four cows had excellent udders with good sized, evenly spaced teats. Cath milks hers in the field!

Shetland cattle genetics seems a bit problematical so I'll be taking Barry's advice on the best bull to use next summer. Shetland females are sexually mature very early - it has been known for a heifer to calve at twelve months i.e. to be covered at three months of age. Ours have been running with their sire, who is covering their dams, so the breeder will have them jagged before they come south to ensure they aren't in calf.

Comments

Steptoe

Friday 8 August, 2014 at 5:00pm

I have been looking at Shetland cattle for over a year now. In fact I am waiting on someone coming back to me with an asking price, for a two year old black and white with a similar marked heifer calf at foot. Your videos were of interest to me, as they show the temperament very well.However, I must add that you are at home with them which is always a big plus with any animal.

I was born in 46 and grew up with shorthorn cows, home made butter and fresh buttermilk in the fifties. I am into my second childhood and want the same for my grand children. The life is hard, at times, but working with nature is also infinitely rewarding :)

I have about 8 acres woodland and Shetlands might just enjoy that I think; my sheep are not so keen then again they have plenty of scope; I have 25 acres. I want a wee house cow or even two & some fresh milk :)

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