We're going to collect fleece samples and try to get the definitive, "scientific" scale of Shetland colors...or something like that. I'll post a link to the group discussion when it's posted.
The Northeast Shetland Sheepbreeders met at Maple Ridge Farm in Vermont a week or so ago, and I've been holding off reporting so as not to "leak" news of our project, but I think it's safe now...
We are a small group, but this year we hailed from New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York.
We discussed all kinds of sheepy stuff like marketing our fleeces, composting animals, testing hay, but the discussion that was most lively was around breed standards and especially colors. Shetlands come in a rainbow of colors, 11 recognized for showing and registering purposes. But there is much debate about what's what, and people are constantly trying to make up new names to describe the subtleties they see in their flocks, and it makes it challenging for breeders and anyone trying to promote the breed yet stay true to our Shetland roots...Just look at some of the variety in Linda's flock (her rams):
It was after the potluck that we got to go "play" with some of Linda's sheep. Here is one particularly friendly ewe (the Walmart greeter of the flock):
And it was during all this activity that we formulated the "project"