Soay Sheep

Small Sheep for Small Acreage

Rural lifestyle amidst amenable creatures Many of us who have chosen to live in a rural setting with a few acres of green pastures, some trees, clean air, perhaps an outbuilding or two, tranquility and so on made our choice in part because we wanted to be able to keep animals of one sort or another, or will come around to the notion sooner or later. Odds are you already have thought about Soay sheep, or you would not be here reading these words. You are on Read more … ► the right track. These small, gentle, easily kept heritage sheep can enrich your life and improve your land.

Prospectus: What’s on offer for 2016?

Three line-cross rams were slated to breed this year in our normal conservation breeding rotation: one light phase, one expressing white spotting, and one virtually black. With our much smaller flock, we needed only two breeders and we chose the tan and white spotted rams, Sidley and Upton. Because the ewes we chose to breed include both tans and white-spotteds, we can pretty much guarantee that those traits will be represented in the 2016 lamb crop.

We held back some intact ram lambs from the 2015 group to go out with 2016 ewe lamb starter flocks so that we can provide yearling rams that are pretty much unrelated to the ewes. We also have a few 2015 yearling ewes left to include in starter flocks so that new owners will have adult ewes to breed in the fall while the 2016 ewe lambs continue to mature.

To reserve a starter flock, we ask for a deposit of $200 per animal. This deposit is non-refundable unless we are unable to fill your order. Once the lambs are on the ground in the spring, we will ask for the balance of the purchase price. Lambs can leave for new homes in late August or later depending on the summer heat.

Please contact us if you are interested in reserving a starter flock for 2016 delivery.

Historic Ranch, Historic Sheep

Old Saltmarsh Barn The old Saltmarsh Ranch is nestled at two thousand feet among the northern foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains in southwestern Oregon, astride the Little Applegate River. Arthur B. Saltmarsh, the original homesteader who settled in the 1880's, built the barn and several other outbuildings still in use. He and his heirs lived here for almost a century.

Weavers feeding sheep Soay sheep have a much longer history. They are descendants of a feral population of primitive sheep living for at least hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years in complete isolation on the island of Soay in the St. Kilda archipelago located off the northwestern coast of Scotland in the North Atlantic Ocean, some 4581 miles from here.

Today's Soay sheep at Saltmarsh Ranch provide us with many satisfactions, foremost among them the rare opportunity to help preserve an endangered variety of attractive small sheep.

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Keeping Sheep as a Lifestyle

Paulina in tall grass Our city friends ask us all the time, “Why on earth do you live way out in the country and burden yourselves with a big flock of Soay sheep?” The answers could fill a book, but we think the following thoughts put to paper thirty years ago by a In the words of Mme Benoit …► renowned Canadian food writer, editor, chef, and shepherd capture the essence of the matter better than we can express it anew.

Choosing your Soay Sheep

Blue Mountain Astro

read more ►Thinking about getting a flock of Soay, but feeling a bit bewildered? Here is a guide to the common types of Soay sheep flocks we and other breeders have put together to meet our varying goals.

Soay Sheep Husbandry

Husbandry Pages ► We continue to add pages on how we keep our Soay sheep. We write them as we go forward on the Soay Calendar, scrambling to get our thoughts together enough in advance so that you may may find them useful as the seasons progress.