News and Events
Shetland Semen and Embryos in the U.S.A.!
The first Shetland semen and embryos ever to be despatched to the U.S. have arrived. It is planned that surrogate cows in Texas will be implanted with the embryos this year, for calves to be born in 2018. Watch for further news.
Semen Store Sales Up
The SCHBS Semen Store reports increased sales this year. In 2016, its first year of operation, the store sold 51 straws of Shetland semen to breeders across the country. This year, already, this number has increased to 101 straws and there are more orders to come. The Society is pleased that the new service is proving a useful resource for breeders in providing them with a range of good bulls of different types and colours. For those actively wishing to improve their cattle and to breed away from any less favourable characteristics, using AI can be more successful than using a bull. AI allows a breeder to match a particular cow with a particular bull, either to enhance or diminish specific characteristics, rather than serving all cows in the herd with the same bull, regardless of variation in the cows. Some breeders use a bull with some cows and AI with others, depending on their herd and their breeding aims.
Those wishing to use AI this year please make contact with the Semen Store to make your order. Remember to allow time for the straws to reach your AI technician. Straws are despatched once a week. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for any enquiries and to make your order. Available bulls can be viewed in the Semen Store on the Home Page.
Brindle Back in Shetland
Following a season of work in Shetland by the brindle bull St Trinians Balou, brindle cattle have reappeared in Shetland. A Shetland-born brindle son is already at work. Heifer Minarvi Maya, born in Shetland last year, displays some of Balou's distinctive striping.
Glachbeg Casper, a white bull calf, was born on 7 May. He has black ear tips, black eye surrounds and black horn buds. The photos show him with dirt on his face, at six weeks old. White Shetlands are nowadays unusual although in olden times they were relatively common. His great grandsire, St Trinians Ghost, was another white bull. He can be seen in the Bulls album in the Gallery. Casper's sire is Renwick Renoir, seen in the news item below.
Another Bull for Australia
Semen from three-year-old Shetland bull Renwick Renoir is now awaiting the results of a final blood test before being ready to ship to Australia, Zimbabwe and the USA. Renoir has already provided semen for domestic use here. He contributes frame, length, colour (grey) and exceptional temperament.
Shetland Genetics to Zimbabwe
A shipment of Shetland semen is currently being arranged for Zimbabwe, the relevant import permissions having been granted by the Zimbabwean authorities. This means that 2017 will see Shetland genetics in three continents - Africa, Australia and North America. Cattle were born in Australia, from embryos, in 2015 and a shipment of semen has been despatched to the USA, with embryos to follow. The semen for Zimbabwe will be shipped to beef farmer, Mr Canaan Gwete, who is looking to bring specific Shetland attributes to his herd of mainly Brahman cattle. He is hoping that the Shetland genetics will improve the milkiness, temperament and hardiness of his herd, and will also moderate the size. Photos below show some of Canaan's mixed herd and also his Brahman bull, grazing his farm west of Mutare in Zimbabwe. Watch for updates to this exciting venture.
North House Annie DOB 3 April, 1998
North House Annie, a mainly black cow still owned and milked by her breeders, Pearl and Willie Young of Wester Skeld, Shetland, had her 19th birthday on 3 April. She is in good health and is due to calve again in July. Her progeny include seven registered females and one registered bull, as well as bull calves that were not registered. She is yet another testament to the soundness and longevity of the breed.
Shetland Genetics to Canada
Plans are being made to send a shipment of Shetland semen, from several bulls, to a farm in British Columbia, Canada, which specialises in old and rare Jersey genetics. The owners breed for high CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in both milk and meat. CLA is an omega-6 fatty acid important to human health. It is shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties and may reduce cardiovascular disease. Shetland meat and milk has been shown, in small scale studies, to contain higher levels of CLA than other breeds. The breeders in Canada are impressed with the conformation of the Shetland as well as the attributes of the milk. More information to follow.
21 Years Old
Shetland cow, Collafirth Rowan, turned 21 on 23 March. She is hale and hearty and wintering out, but despite bulling regularly, has given up calving, having given birth for the last time in August 2014, to Carn Bhren Irsa, pictured below. However, at the age of 17 she was successfully flushed for embryos and a bull calf of hers, Zetralia Apollo Bay, was born in Australia in 2015. He can be seen in the photo Gallery. Rowan has had 16 calves in all. Of these, two were heifers and 14 were bulls. She calved 14 calves without missing a year from the age of 2 y.o. When she last calved her udder was sound on all four quarters and she has never had teat trouble. She has also never needed to have her feet trimmed. She is a fine example of the breed - hardy, milky, friendly, sound and intelligent.
The FAnGR (Farm Animal Genetic Resources Committee) advises DEFRA and the Devolved administrations on issues related to the conservation and sustainable use of farm animal genetic resources. Regular newsletters are produced.
The FAnGR has been working with DEFRA to update the UK National Breed Inventory of all farm animals resident in the UK (other than poultry). The updated inventory for 2016 is now online at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-farm-animal-genetic-resources-fangr-breed-inventory-results. This shows how breed populations are changing over time and can help identify status, trends and potential threats.
The estimated population of registered breeding female Shetlands in 2016 was 551, an increase of 32 from 2015.
If you wish to join the circulation list for the FAnGR newsletter please email email@example.com. The newsletter includes important information about native breeds, breeding and genetics, and regulations.
Shetland Herd in Australia
Seven Shetland calves were born in Australia in early 2015 from embryos created in Scotland in 2013 and implanted in Ayrshire heifer surrogates in Australia in 2014. There are four heifers and three bulls. Photos of them can be seen in the Gallery. These are the only Shetland cattle outside the UK. The herd was established by Paddy Zakaria, a member of the SCHBS Management Committee, as an off-shore gene pool to secure the breed in the event of the loss of genetics in this country. Shetland cattle have been taken out of the UK before, notably a breeding group taken to the Falkland Islands after the war, but there was no systematic plan to create a viable herd and no members of this group have survived. Semen has been collected and shipped to Australia to ensure the diversity and viability of the new herd and the genetics now in Australia represent 93% of all the ancestors and founders of the breed. Further semen collection is underway to improve the balance of the new gene pool. The first generation of calves born from Shetland heifers is due later in 2017.
9 August, 2017 Cunningsburgh Show, Cunningsburgh, Shetland
22 October, 2017 16th Annual General Meeting, to be held in Derbyshire, near Ashbourne, followed by lunch and a farm tour. On the evening of 21st there will be a meal and social evening for members (venue to be confirmed).