If you have enjoyed our website and are interested in keeping Shetland cattle, we are delighted. Shetland cattle are wonderful and very rare; the breed is deemed “At Risk” by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
While Shetlands make great suckler cattle for cross-breeding, the small numbers and limited genetic pool mean that it very important that breeders continue to breed pure and in such a way as to preserve the genetic diversity of the breed. While the language of genetics may seem daunting, there are experienced and knowledgeable breeders who are happy to share their expertise with new breeders. The Secretary of the Shetland Cattle Breeders Association is always happy to help (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are three organisations with a role in supporting and promoting the breed.
The Shetland Cattle Herd Book Society is based on the Shetland Isles and is the registering body for the breed. The Society maintains pedigree data and publishes the Herd Book.
The Shetland Cattle from Shetland Breeders Group is a local group of breeders of Shetland Cattle affiliated to the Shetland Cattle Herd Book Society.
The Shetland Cattle Breeders Association is a support group for breeders located on the British mainland. The SCBA website also has information about Shetland cattle and a Marketplace. For a modest membership fee, members have access to an excellent database of breeder and cattle information and receive an informative newsletter three times a year. The members’ area of the website also holds all past newsletters, with a search facility.
There is a Shetland Cattle Facebook page. This is not affiliated to any of the breed societies.
If you want a book on small-scale cattle keeping, we would recommend “Caring for Cows” by Valerie Porter. It was first published in 1991, so is a wee bit out of date but cows haven’t changed much in that time – and certainly not for small-scale keepers.
If you are interested in the history of the Shetland cow and its place in the social fabric of the Shetland Isles, the Shetland Cattle Herd Book Society published in 2010, to celebrate its centenary, a wonderful book called “A Dander Trowe”. There may still be copies available from the SCHBS.