News and Events
First 100% Shetland Birth in Australia
A bull calf, Zetralia Bressay, has been born in Australia from a Shetland sire and a Shetland dam. He is the first calf to be born in Australia from two Shetland parents, joined naturally. In true Shetland style the birth was fast, and despite great anticipation and vigilant observation no-one saw it! It was a cold, wet early spring morning but the calf was up and sucking quickly. The heifer dam, Zetralia Avelyn, was relaxed and calm throughout and allowed well-wishers to pat and handle the calf immediately. Bressay represents an important addition to the Australian genetics as semen from his dam's sire was not eligible for import to Australia. See below for more information about the Australian Zetralia herd.
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 the UK. 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. Additional semen collections will further improve the balance of the new gene pool. Zetralia Avelyn, mother of the first calf, can be seen back left in the photo, at 18 months old.
Shetland Calves to be Born from Embryos in the U.S.A.
The first Shetland cattle embryos to arrive in the U.S. are now safely in storage in Texas, after weathering a series of shipping and paperwork difficulties. Surrogates will be implanted in December, for calves to be born in September, 2018. Watch for further news.
Dun Bull From Shetland
Dun bull Ocraquoy Haldor, 3.5 years old, has been sent from Shetland for a season of breeding on the mainland. The dun colour is still rare in Shetland cattle. Haldor is a fine example and has a very placid temperament. His dam, Hestataing Amber, was a well-known prize winner in Shetland in her younger days and is still breeding successfully at the age of 15. A dun heifer calf of Haldor's appears below.
Another 19 Year Old Calves Successfully
Ustaness Gunna, 19 years old last April, gave birth to a lively bull calf on 17 August. Gunna arrived from Shetland into the Fleet herd in Rogart, Sutherland, at the age of 17, for a well-deserved retirement in slightly gentler climes than her homeland. She has, however, showed no inclination to slow down and has produced two calves since, first a heifer, Fleet Moon, and now a bull, Fleet Climper. She is sound and healthy in all respects.
Walls Show 2017
Walls Show was held on Saturday 12 August. The cattle were judged by Mr Maynard Love. Results were as follows:
Cow, any age, in milk was won by Mr Willie Young with North House Miriam. Second prize went to Mr Ivor Anderson and third went to Mr Kevin Hay.
Cow, any age, in calf, dry was won by Mr Kevin Hay.
Cow, with own Shetland calf at foot was won by Mr Willie Young, who also took second prize. Third price was won by Mr Kevin Hay.
Cow, with own cross calf at foot was won by Mr Ivor Anderson. Second and third prizes were taken by Mr Kevin Hay.
Heifer, not showing more than two hard teeth, in calf, Silver Cup presented by JCB Smith was won by Mr Morgan Robertson, with Mr Kevin Hay taking second prize.
One year old heifer was won by Mr Kevin Hay.
Calf, under six months was won by Mr Willie Young, who also took second and third prize.
Calf, six - twelve months was won by Mr Kevin Hay.
Shetland Champion Cow was won by North House Miriam.
Cunningsburgh Show 2017
The Cunningsburgh Show was held on Wednesday 9 August. Shetland cattle were judged by Addie and Anne Doull. Prizes awarded were as follows:
Cow in Milk - 1st Collafirth Babbie, Sheena Anderson, 2nd Trondra Freda, Pam Williamson, 3rd Collafirth Merlo, Sheena Anderson
Cow with own Calf at Foot - 1st Collafirth Babbie with Collafirth Hamish, 2nd Collafirth Laura with Minarvi Broon, 3rd Trondra Freda with Lunna Tammy
Heifer not in Calf - 1st Minarvi Maya, Kathleen Anderson, 2nd Collafirth Opium, Sheena Anderson
Heifer in Calf - 1st Collafirth Nina
Male Calf - 1st Collafirth Hamish, 2nd Minarvi Broon, 3rd Lunna Tammy
Best Calf - Collafirth Hamish
Champion - Collafirth Babbie
Reserve Champion - Trondra Freda
Supreme Cattle Champion - Collafirth Babbie
Best Shown Animal 1st Minarvi Maya, R Anderson, 2nd Collafirth Laura and Broon, K Anderson, 3rd Lunna Tiki, K Williamson
Reserve Best Shown - Minarvi Maya
Shetland Beef Biltong Award
Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food to encourage and mentor artisan food producers, have announced their 2017 award winners, after a judging process lasting from March till July and involving 500 judges from all over the world. These awards are the "Oscars" of the food world and the "epicurean equivalent of the Booker Prize". Paul and Becky Newman keep the Newmans herd of Shetland cattle in the hills above Aberfeldy in Perthshire and run Errichel B&B and Thyme at Errichel Restaurant. This year they won several Great Taste awards for their produce and amongst these was the fine achievement of Two Stars for their Shetland Beef Biltong.
In May Paul and Becky also won the Scottish Land and Estates Award for Agri-Tourism. Their Shetland herd, which they use for milk as well as beef, is an important part of their business and creates interest amongst visitors on guided walks around their spectacular farm. Congratulations to all at Errichel for an excellent achievement and for promoting Shetland cattle!
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, 109 straws have been sold. 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. 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 in 2015, 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 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 and straws are available from the Semen Store. 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.
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 had 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.
22 October, 2017 16th Annual General Meeting of the Shetland Cattle Breeders Association, 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).