Wild Times Archive

Shetland Sheep

The sheep in the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s new
Urban Farm are
pleased to meet ewe!

There are two different sheep species who call the zoo home:
Shetland sheep and Babydoll sheep

Shetland sheep are a small-sized, wool-producing breed from the Shetland Isles, Scotland. Their roots extend back over 1,000 years. This breed is raised primarily for their very fine, soft wool – widely regarded as the finest of the British wools – but also for meat production and conservation grazing. They are found in many different colours (black, grey, white, brown, fawn, honey) and patterns.

Shetland sheep are highly adaptable to many climates. For centuries they have been known to survive successfully in difficult situations and on a poor diet. They are an easy-to-manage breed and like attention – many will wag their tails when petted.

The Edmonton Valley Zoo is home to two female Shetland sheep – nine-year-old Paris and eight-year-old Ruby.

Shetland sheep are small-bodied animals with small ears and short tails. They are smaller in stature than other breeds found in North America. Ewes generally weigh between 34 – 45 kg (75 – 100 lbs) while rams are larger at between 41 – 57 kg (90 – 125 lbs).

Shetlands originated in the Shetland Isles, Scotland, but they are easily adaptable and are kept in many other parts of the world. They adapt well to most climates and conditions.

These grazers mainly feed on grass and hay.

Shetland sheep are hardy, and are known for their good natures. They are calm and docile, and respond well to human interaction.

Shetland sheep are seasonal breeders and lambing occurs in spring or summer. They are easy lambers and good mothers. The gestation period is approximately 147 days, although individual pregnancies will vary. Twin lambs are common in good conditions.

10-20 years.