Help secure the future of Shetland Cattle

by Rosemary Champion in Barry, Scotland, United Kingdom

Help secure the future of Shetland Cattle
We did it
On 12th March 2020 we successfully raised £1,290 with 45 supporters in 28 days

To fund the making of a video to celebrate and promote the fantastic Shetland cattle breed and to help to secure its future.

by Rosemary Champion in Barry, Scotland, United Kingdom

Why we need your cash

Shetland cattle breed is endangered. Although good progress has been made in increasing numbers, the breed is still listed as a minority breed by the  Rare Breed Survival Trust. In this special triple anniversary for the breed, we want to work with other breeders and the breed societies to make a video showing the history, the present and give a glimpse into the future of this amazing, versatile breed.

By making the video and using it on social media, we can showcase the breed to many, many people over an extended period of time - and hopefully make them fall in love with the breed, as we have.

Please read on to find out more and how you can help.

The Crofter's Kye

The Shetland cow is an ancient breed and integral part of the social, agricultural and cultural fabric of the Shetland Islands. The original crofter's kye, the breed was originally a dairy breed, kept to provide milk and other essential foods for the crofter and his family, as well as raising a calf to sell. It was also used to produce beef and as a draft animal.

Not many Shetlands are milked today, although there is some interest in using the breed for small scale dairying. Today, the breed is usually kept as a suckler cow, raising one calf each year for beef. 


However, the breed retains essential characteristics of its dairy ancestry, being docile and milky. The cattle are also small, hardy and thrifty and able to live well on poor forage, making them popular for conservation grazing projects.

Why is 2020 significant for Shetland Cattle

2020 is a significant year for Shetland cattle; it is a triple anniversary year - one hundred years since the breed was last shown at the Royal Highland Show (Aberdeen 1920) Scotland's premier agricultural event; 110 years since the founding of the Shetland Cattle Herd Book Society and 20 years since the establishment of the Shetland Cattle Breeders Association. To mark this, SCBA has been working with SCHBS and the Rare Breed Survival Trust to have a celebration of Shetland Cattle at the Royal Highland Show in June this year.

The event takes place over four days and will give many thousands of visitors the chance to see this fantastic breed, which is an integral part of Scotland's agricultural and social history. 

Reaching out

But we want to do more - to reach many more people over a longer period of time - by commissioning a video showing the breed's past, present and a glimpse into the future. Using footage shot on the breed's home Islands, on mainland Great Britain plus images from Australia, Texas and Slovakia, where Shetland herds are now being established; to show the breed as a suckler cow, as a milk cow and as a conservation grazer.

We are working with a filmmaker on Shetland and a filmmaker in Dundee, with support from the breed societies and individual breeders to put together the film with the aim of showing a first version at the Royal Highland Show, filming there and then producing a final version as a legacy of Shetland Cattle RHS 2020.

If you can help...

however small your donation, every pound will help us reach our target and all donations will be acknowledged on the video.

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