e.g. I know very little about the management of sheep, can you recommend some books to me? The ewes weigh 50-to-60-pounds, rams 65-to-75-pounds, and newborn lambs are the size of a bag of sugar. The Soay sheep is a breed of domestic sheep descended from a population of feral sheep on the 100 hectare island of Soay in the St Kilda Archipelago, about 65 kilometres from the Western Isles of Scotland. Dominance, in this case, is usually linked with the size of the … Lambing would usually take place in April/May (Soay), March/April (Boreray), although my earliest lamb arrived on 23rd February. If sheep have dirty bottoms and/or are coughing this is a sure sign of worms and a further worming is recommended. that they are starting, or enhancing, their flock in a healthy and genetically responsible Rams are two-horned and the horns are strong. I have an unlikely Soay sheep tale to share with you about a magical three days we just experienced when three utterly delightful women — one from Cleveland, one from Cincinnati, and one from St. Louis — came all the way out to Oregon to share lambing with us for just three days — almost […] Gestation time for a ewe is approximately 147 days. In sending our starter flocks and individual breeding rams to new homes, we look forward For further information contact Grassroots on 01392 437788. The Unique History of Soay Sheep – A Relic Population Gevan Marrs - ©2006 – WoodlandCreekFarm.com Note: much of the information in this article is a distillation of the information presented in Clutton-Brock, Juliet, (1987). Soay Sheep Background. After seven years of comprehensive testing and monitoring, as of July 28, 2014 our farm finally is "Export Certified" by the USDA and therefore classified as a "Negligible Risk Premises" by the Canadian authorities. generations after that. Sometimes, and this is more usually seen in sheep that have not bred that year, it is thought to be hormonal, they do not loose their fleece. It is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds. Most are organised through the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and some under the auspices of the breed societies. They're one of the oldest She known breed of sheep in the world, and one of the smallest. elsewhere Once we have used a ram for breeding, he is usually for sale. Just as a system like the one we have The visitor need only take a walk around Village Bay in order to see the different types within the pedigree breed. There are no books yet for the management of Soay or Boreray sheep specifically. They resemble primitive sheep of the Bronze Age and are believed to be the ancestors of the first domestic sheep. The Soay sheep pedigree is a starting point for studies of the mating system and variation in breeding success, the genetic basis of trait variation and understanding microevolution in the population. During the summer, the short nights mean that sheep produce very little melatonin. The Soay Sheep Society was founded by a group of Soay owners realising the need for a representative body to speak and act on behalf of Soay and Boreray sheep. In older animals check that the udder is soft – hardness could indicate mastitis and the loss of a teat and therefore the inability to rear lambs with ease. Soay sheep occupy a very unique place in the history of man’s domestication of sheep, and in fact in domestication of Both sexes usually have horns, but we do have the polled gene in some of our flock which sometimes produces polled ewes. 12/345/6789. grass-growing season allow us to hold some of these "extra" ram lambs over the winter and A reputable breeder will be only too glad to give after sales service and be a ‘helpful voice at the end of the phone’. The Soay sheep is a primitive breed of domestic sheep descended from a population of feral sheep on the 250-acre island of Soay in the St. Kilda Archipelago, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) from the Western Isles of Scotland. The classic Soay sheep is known as the Dark Wild type, having a dark brown body with a light belly and rump and light hair around the eyes. I have heard no reports from other breeders of losing a ewe due to lambing problems. the details of how we assign our ewes and rams to breeding groups and how we intermix For further information contact Grassroots through their web-page www.grassroots.co.uk (then choose RBST Combined Flock book from the left-hand menu), by e-mail , or telephone 01392 437788. to having the new and enhanced flocks contribute to the conservation and thoughtful The older Soay we have butchered weighed 10-15% more hanging and packaged, especially the 3-year old ram. Where do Soay Sheep come from? It has descended from a population of feral sheep on the 250 acre island of Soay in the St. Kilda Archipelago. put together starter flocks in which no two ewe lambs share either a mother (i.e., no Viking Sheep. Our goal, which we almost always achieve, is to American Blackbelly. I have bought some sheep that are registered, what does this mean? Movement forms should be obtained from your Animal Health Officer, usually based within the Trading Standards Dept. Soay & Boreray are not hard to keep into an area, as long as the fencing is of a good type. ewes usually deliver up more little boys than we need. For hundreds of years St.Kildans rowed from Hirta to Soay in the summer to collect fleece from the shedding native sheep that lived there. Dominant males will locate females in oestrus and accompany them, chasing off other males who approach. Although, according to the This would very much depend on the quality of your land. Endangered Sheep Breeds SOAY RAM “Soay” is an Old Norse word meaning, simply, “sheep”. When a sheep/goat/cow arrives on your holding NO animal, unless going for direct slaughter, must be moved until 6 days for England and Wales, 13 days for Scotland after the date on the last movement onto the holding. genetic mix can be even richer. We are also in a position to offer a starter flock of Soay sheep, including an unrelated tup. Avoid animals that are lethargic, not bright eyed, have mucky bottoms. This reflects the history and preservation of this first domesticated sheep breed, dating back 5,000 years. They are a small breed perfect for small acreage areas. As autumn approaches, the days shorten and the nights lengthen, allowing the sheep to produce increasing amounts of this hormone. Good for the breed … If you are interested enough in acquiring British Soay sheep to have made it this far on our website, you probably have already read, either here or elsewhere, about the general notion of conservation breeding and how important it is for the preservation of rare breeds like Soay sheep. these groups in a 3-year cycle of rotational breeding. carefully to be certain we can provide buyers with lambs of equally rich genetic These details are correct at the time of writing, but as legislation changes frequently it is best to consult your Animal Health Officer for up to date information. Lambing would usually take place in April/May (Soay), March/April (Boreray), although my earliest lamb arrived on 23rd February. Thousands of years ago, people of the time settled a four-island group we now call St. Kilda, located 41 miles off the west coast of Scotland. 1) The Soay sheep pedigree. Our relatively mild climate and They are closely related to feral mouflon, in turn derived from wild sheep of Western Asia near the Black Sea. from day one. The other way is to buy from one of the rare breed auctions held during the year in various parts of the country. As they are small sheep, with an inquisitive nature, they will find small gaps. Their name comes from the island of Soay off the coast of Scotland. If there is a low stocking density on land that has not had sheep on for a while then the sheep should not have a large worm burden. implemented on our farm helps to conserve the overall gene pool of Soay sheep, our This should be kept in a Movement Book. It may be possible to obtain one free of charge from the Trading Standards department of your local authority, if not they are readily available on the internet. There is also a Dark Self which is a uniform dark brown. Soay sheep originate from the 250 acre island of Soay in the St. Kilda archipelago one hundred and ten miles west of Scotland. A small circle of Soay friends have just unveiled a new web site, www.friends of soay.com This new site combines a half dozen, like minded friends who are trying to promote the best of the registered (purebred) British Soay Sheep. Soay sheep have a polygynous mating system in which males mate with multiple females. Soay sheep are small and easy to deal with. Soay sheep munch on weeds as well as grasses. ‘Island Survivors – the Ecology of the Soay Sheep of St Kilda’ by Peter Jewell is the bible for Soay keepers. If you are unfamiliar with Soay or Boreray sheep, the best approach is to visit a number of breeders to look at their stock to get familiar with the breed and ask lots of questions. rare breeds like Soay sheep. If not, problems with eating will occur in later life. rules of our breeding system, we are done with him, he is still a perfectly good, proven I have been told that Soay & Boreray are hard to keep in, what type of fencing will be needed? The keeper/owner is responsible for keeping a record of all movements on and off the holding. British Registered Soay sheep Frequently Asked Questions about Soay Sheep. The Soay sheep is an old breed of sheep that descended from feral sheep on the small island of Soay in the St. Kilda Achipelago. The Soay sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from Scotland. Soay sheep are a very ancient and rare breed having originated at least since the Iron and Bronze Ages. This breed is closely related to the Barbados Blackbelly, a heritage variety that … St Kilda is a remote archipelago, west of the Outer Hebrides.Several types of sheep have been associated with St Kilda. grow for an additional year. each spring carry as many different combinations of genes as possible. fathers than the current crop of ewe lambs with whom they will be teamed up, the resulting Soays may be one of the only living examples of mans earliest domesticated sheep. The Soay sheep is a breed of domestic sheep (Ovis aries) descended from a population of feral sheep on the 250-acre (100 ha) island of Soay in the St. Kilda Archipelago, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) from the Western Isles of Scotland. For ease of handling it is also a good idea to have a small area fenced off where the sheep are regularly fed so that when you need to inspect/worm etc. This includes an inner sheep yard with shade trees, a 16x24 sheep barn, and three fresh grass pasture paddocks. If you are high up, on less favourable land then the numbers would be lower. If you put the ram to the ewe on Bonfire night (5/11) lambing will be on April Fools Day … Soay Sheep is a breed of primitive sheep originated on the Island of Soay, off the coast of Scotland. The island of Soay is about 65 kilometers from the Western Isles of Scotland. Even the rams, which can get to be 70 to 80 pounds, are manageable by one person. viability of this special variety of ancient sheep. offers a different set of genetics to his new flock of ewes. this far on our website, you probably have already read, either here or elsewhere, about the several years, allowing them to ramp up slowly for economic reasons and to "try out" Soay The fleece is, normally, shed naturally. season, we can provide lambs in the second, third, and subsequent years that are unrelated If sheep arrive on a Sunday, the next movement can take place the Sunday after. In a nutshell, the various forms of conservation breeding particular version of rotational breeding also ensures that the lambs born here sales because they have the added benefit of ensuring that the new breeder ends up with fall, each serviced by a different ram. twins are sent to the same new home) or a father (i.e., no half siblings). Mary is also a keeper of primitive sheep. Without this number no animal can be moved, as it forms a fundamental part of the ‘movement license’ which details the identity of the sheep (from a mandatory ear tag), the details of the holding they are leaving, who transported them and where they are going to. The other way to get somewhat more meat from your Soay sheep is to keep them until they are 3 or 4 years old. Kilda is the Norse word for sheep island, suggesting this breed was brought to the remote islands by the vikings. Soay Sheep originate from the islands of St.Kilda, off the Scottish coast. At maturity, ewes generally weigh 50 – 60 pounds and no great strength is required to handle or work them. sheep before making a large time commitment. Are they bright and alert? Many keepers in this situation would then worm at tupping (Oct/Nov) and then again about a month after lambing (May/June). Why Buy This Breed? Ewes tend to first lamb by the age of 12-18 months, and the rule of Soay, is the only tools you should need during lambing season is a pair of binoculars. WOOL AND FIBER: Soay, an Ancient Breed, a Novelty wool . We currently have several 2020 Soay ewe and ram lambs available as well as one or two older ewes. Soay sheep are a rare breed originating from only two islands off the west coast of Scotland. If you are Conservation Grazing, advice should be sought regarding stocking levels according to the aims of the grazing the sheep can be enclosed without fuss. If you are interested enough in acquiring British Soay sheep to have made it Because these yearlings always have different Moving on to new “opportunities,” he The keeper/owner is also obliged to record all medicines given to individual animals, either by the vet or keeper and should include details of product used, when purchased and the withdrawal period (until they can go for slaughter). Feed: Soay sheep eat grass and broad leaf weeds. dispersal of British Soay sheep throughout North America, assuring the continued It is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds. Although we have managed to export British Soay Sheep to Canada in the past, as of this year, the process should be much easier. Each farm/holding/field should have a ‘Holding Number’ issued by DEFRA and this should consist of a 9 digit no. method is that we do not breed our little girls their first fall, but rather allow them to genetically diverse crop of adult British Soay sheep in the U.S. and Canada and we breed Scientists say milder winters help smaller sheep to survive, resulting in this "paradoxical decrease in size". Stock fencing, taut at the bottom to stop them going underneath, with a strand of wire over the top of the fencing is recommended. If you put the ram to the ewe on Bonfire night (5/11) lambing will be on April Fools Day (1/4). current generation of animals will be transmitted to the next generation and the ram, between two and four years old. We have the most If you are in a cold area you may want to put off lambing until good weather can be expected, and withdraw your ram from the ewes until 147 days before the earliest lambing date you want. It details the study carried out in the ‘60s on the island flock. They are a small short tailed breed of sheep that naturally shed their wool coat in the spring months. We especially welcome these multi-year ‘Starting with Sheep’ by Mary Castell (about £8) gives clear guidance on setting up and managing a new flock. A small, athletic looking sheep that has something of the look of a gazelle about it, the Soay is an exceptionally hardy sheep and can survive in the most adverse conditions. ewes with better stamina and longevity, and larger, healthier lambs that are more robust Since 1932 t hey have also live d … way. From about April the sheep start to loose their fleece naturally, rams usually start to loose it before the ewes. 1. Several aspects of our breeding system provide assurance to our customers Soay sheep are fine-boned and late maturing, with prominent withers. What most discussions of conservation breeding do not focus on, however, is how And Soay present a unique opportunity to participate in the conservation of this primitive breed of domesticated sheep.” Steve elaborates, “For example, we’re engaged in a formal breeding conservation program for our flock of 64 fully documented British Soay. If you contact the Society it should be possible to tell you of stock for sale relatively locally. general notion of conservation breeding and how important it is for the preservation of ‘Sheep Ailments’ by Eddie Straiton (about £19) covers all aspects of health and its pictorial presentation makes it easy to understand. Check that the teeth sit squarely on the pad. It will always be better to start off with fewer sheep, which can be increased if needed, but it is not easy to decrease. Therefore, the majority of British sheep breeds become sexually active from October through to December. The pedigree registration of Soay and Boreray sheep is handled within the Combined Flock Book managed by Grassroots Systems Ltd on behalf of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Once you are registered with Grassroots, our Flock book can be accessed electronically through www.grassroots.co.uk/cfb.html. As a matter of fact, it is not necessary to handle Soay sheep much at all. I am told that Soay/Boreray sheep do not need shearing, is this true? The texture of their wool can vary, from soft fine wool to more coarse hairy fibres (or “kemps”), and mixtures in-between. Are they a good size for their age? heritage. This very much depends on the stocking density of the sheep on the land, whether the land has had sheep on in the past, and where the sheep came from to begin with. The earlier lambing takes place, the longer period for the lambs to grow before winter. I would like to buy some sheep, but am unclear about the regulations surrounding the keeping of sheep, please explain. With females for breeding, check their udder. each seek to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, all the genes carried by the incorporate them in the next year's orders. For buyers, the key element of our Soay are seasonal breeders, generally breeding in the Fall and lambing five months later, in the Spring.
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