Soay sheep

Soay sheep

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Soay sheep

The Soay sheep is a breed of domestic sheep (Ovis aries) descended from a population of feral sheep on the 100-hectare (250-acre) island of Soay in the St Kilda Archipelago, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) from the Western Isles of Scotland. It is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds.

It remains physically similar to the wild ancestors of domestic sheep, the Mediterranean mouflon and the horned urial sheep of Central Asia. Than modern domesticated sheep but hardier, and is extraordinarily agile, tending to take refuge amongst the cliffs when frightened. Soays may be solid black or brown, or more often blonde or dark brown with buffish-white underbelly and rump; a few have white markings on the face.

Classifications

  • Breed Name: Soay
  • Other Name: None
  • Breed Purpose: Meat
  • Breed Size: Small
  • Weight: 25 to 40
  • Horns: Yes or no
  • Climate Tolerance: Native climates
  • Color: Solid brown or black
  • Rarity: Common
  • Country/Place of Origin: Scotland

Care

Space

One of the great things about Soay is they don’t require a huge tract of wide open space. They are a small breed perfect for small acreage areas. We have comfortably raised 15 sheep on approximately one acre. This includes an inner sheep yard with shade trees, a 16×24 sheep barn, plus three fresh grass pasture paddocks.

Fencing

You will need to install fencing for your flock. Four-foot tall wire fencing installed with steel t-posts will work. If you plan to have multiple areas to allow your sheep to roam and graze or rotate pasture, you will need to design a gate system. Remember that both male and female Soay have horns so watch that they don’t get their horns caught in the fence or gates.

Maintenance & Medical

Soay sheep are relatively easy to care for. Once a year they need hoof trimming, oral deworming medication, and a Covexin 8 subcutaneous vaccination. This can be done by you, all at the same time. We also roo our Soay at this time.  For serious medical issues you will need to locate a large animal vet or veterinary hospital in your area.

Characteristics

The Soay sheep are a smaller sized animal. They are smaller in size than the modern domesticated sheep breeds. They may be solid black or brown in color, or more often blonde or dark brown with buffish-white underbelly and rump.

White markings on the face and/or on the body and legs are occasionally seen. They are rarely of self-colored. They have short tails and naturally shed their wool, which can be hand plucked in the spring and early summer. The rams are either horned or scurred, and the ewes are polled, scurred or horned.

Soay sheep for sale

Soay sheep images

Soay sheep

Soay sheep

Soay sheep

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