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Sheep Health Issues
The best information on raising Shetland sheep is the Shetland Sheep Mailing List, run by List Mom Kris Hopkins. This list is generally very friendly and helpful, and is particularly supportive to beginning Shetland breeders. Occasionally, differences of opinion surface regarding wool type and pricing of breeding stock, and debate is always lively on the subject of the North American Shetland Sheep Association (NASSA), but it's well worth joining. I have learned a tremendous amount about Shetlands since joining this list.
A related website, maintained by Julie Owens of Sheep Hollow Farm and Fiber, lists the breeders who are members of the Shetland list, by state, farm name, and last name. Feel free to contact breeders who live near you to visit their farms and look at their sheep.
The major Shetland organizations are:
In the UK, the Shetland Flock Book Society was formed in 1926 to preserve Shetland sheep from being crossbred out of existence. Today they still conduct inspections of rams prior to registration, to make sure they meet the standards set by the organization.
Also in the UK, the Shetland Sheep Breeders Association was formed in 1985 to provide a network of breeders and (after 1990) an independent registry for the sheep.
And in North America, the North American Shetland Sheep Association (NASSA) provides a registry and a quarterly newsletter about Shetland sheep in North America.
An important organization in the survival of Shetland sheep and other rare and endangered farm animals in the United Kingdom is the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. They monitor the status of many once-common breeds, encouraging responsible breeding to bring back these animals.
I am always looking for good information about Shetland sheep, in print or on the Internet. If you know of a site, book, article, etc, that you think should be listed here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the information. Thank you for your help!