Thursday, July 1, 2010


Sheepy Hollow Rachel
Late October 2009There is an ongoing discussion within the Shetland Sheep community about fleece, length of fleece, and double/single coats. Which traits define a real, proper, historical Shetland? I thought about defining my view of the situation...I do have opinions, of course. But my goal for this post is to share information and notes of my experience with a certain fleece line that I have in my flock. I have no intention of proving a point, convincing someone, or drawing a conclusion.
A picture is worth a thousand words...I simply invite each reader to look at a particular fleece type they may, or may not, have ever seen before.
Sheepy Hollow Rachel has, what I consider to be, scadder. It is easy to see in these photos because she is Ag (grey). She gets a mane of black hair behind her head and a strip of this similar hair down her backbone. Her daughter and granddaughter, Sian and Leil, both have this trait.
The other sheep in my current flock do not have scadder.
This scadder does not release when the rest of the neck fleece is experiencing the rise. I cannot pluck it away with the other loose fleece in the early summer.
When the fleeces are sheared, this scadder hair is sheared with the rest of the fleece. These areas of scadder are like small areas of dramatic double coat on a fleece that has a four inch staple with a bit of tip. If I want it removed, it is easy to pull the guard hair out of these locks to make the product more uniform.
Boston Lake Leil
June 2010
The scadder grows faster and longer than the rest of the fleece. Leil was shorn April 8, 2010.


Theresa said...

Excellent Sabrina!! Thanks so much for this photo essay! I hope all who read this post understand that when Shetlands roo, the scadder hair STAYS on the animal. This is exactly what was discussed in several of the historical documents.
I also have a couple of sheep on the farm with scadder hairs, very similar to your sheep here. It is a very "primitive" characteristic in Shetland sheep.
Also, this is too funny, but I was going to try and get pictures this week of those sheep that have scadder on them, but you have done a splendid job of explaining it. So thanks again!

Oh, one more thing, double coated sheep DO roo both coats at once and the outer hair/wool (not scadder) comes off with the inner wool.

Juliann said...


THAT is the true beaver coat, the historic, "bronze age", primitive double coated Shetland sheep!!!
Some of my sheep have this, too. It is not something I would deliberately breed for, but I don't cull for it, either.

Christine said...

Very interesting. Thank you for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Excellent post and photos! I have this in my flock also. BTW - your Old Rachael is a lovely ewe. :-)