Posts Tagged ‘soay sheep’

Soay Sheep

Soay – the Norse word for sheep – are a small and ancient breed.    They are believed to be the ancestor of the domestic breeds.    In modern times, the only natural population is on the Isle of Soay, in the Outer Hebrides, where they have run wild for centuries.    Agile and quick footed, they often ‘hop jump’, as they skittishly run from danger.    They cannot be driven in the conventional manor due to their unpredictable nature.

They have a slight build and are much smaller than domestic sheep.    Both sexes are horned, the male’s horns are much heavier, and may form a complete circle.    The coat is often shaggy to look at, as it is self- shedding.    It is normally a dull brown or tawny colour, although it can range to black.

Being a primitive bred, their tails do not need docking.    They do not suffer from foot root.    Soay can live happily on relatively small amounts of poor grazing, scrub and weeds.    Their flesh particularly lean for a sheep, and a gourmet treat.

Currently we have 10 rams and 15 ewes. First Lamb born 20th February 2008 a little girl.  Breeding programme going very well. March 2010 Interesting that Lambs born so far are all Female, we are really pleased as this helps the Breeding  programme.