Updated page of sheep available for purchase now, and what we expect to have after spring lambing. All our retired flocksires have gone to new homes, but we will have a new batch for our "Scratch and Dent" sale next spring after lambing.
A brand-new gallery of sheep we have sold in the last two or three years, designed to give you an idea of what our flock looks like and what you can expect the sheep you get from us to look like. As we were putting together these galleries -- one for ewes and one for rams -- we were struck again at the color and conformation diversity in the British Soay flock in the US and Canada.
Updated resource pages to reflect some new sources of products we like and new contact information for some of the old stalwarts.
Sneak preview of 2015 lambing
We are excited about the prospects for lambing next spring. Our four flocksires, shown here, represent the full color range and the diversity of horn sizes and shapes that characterize the British Soay sheep in North America and in the U.K. There is not room on this page to show all the comely ewes being bred even as this goes to press, but the selection shown also is representative of the genetic diversity in our flock. Be sure to check back in April to see what our heritage sheep have produced!
For the current cycle, we are breeding one ram (Lewes) from our C bloodline to several of our B bloodline ewes. Both ewe and ram lambs from this outcross breeding will be available for sale. Similarly, one of our B bloodline rams (Emsworth) is breeding a group of C bloodline ewes, and all of the resulting outcross lambs will be available for sale.
We also have two linecross breeding groups, each consisting of an A ram and several A ewes. One group is serviced by Whitestone and the other by Plympton, both of whom were themselves linecross ram lambs (and thus eligible as flocksires) three years ago. Under our standard conservation breeding program, ram lambs from these linecross breedings will be retained as potential future flocksires and the ewe lambs will be available for sale.
The ewes we are breeding this year span a ten-year age range. They include Sutton and Winfield, “gimmers” breeding for the first time at the age of one and a half years.
After careful thought, we also decided to breed Galice one more time. At age 11, she is of our most senior ewes but also a very sturdy and prolific breeder. Galice produced her first lamb in 2004 on Southern Oregon Soay Farm, then moved north to Port Angeles and produced three future flocksires (Ballistic and twins Galileo and Galahad) for Kate Montgomery. After we persuaded Kate to part with Galice, she (Galice) began a long successful run for us: four sets of twins, AI triplets, and the rest singles. Her sons Edward and Rushford have both bred for us here and her daughter Standish also is a steady producer for us. The rest of Galice’s offspring are scattered around the US and Canada.
Our remaining breeders range in age between Galice and the gimmers and include tan ewes, brown ewes, black ewes, white-spotted ewes, ewes with long sweeping horns, ewes with Mickey Mouse-shaped horns, and the Soay “kitchen sink.” We look forward to showing off their lambs next spring.
Historic Ranch, Historic Sheep
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.
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
Small Sheep for Small Acreage
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Finally it has dawned on us to add a FAQ list to this site. Check it out via the nearby
link. We hope to add new entries as
they come up in phone calls and emails.
Choosing your Soay Sheep
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.
Keeping Sheep as a Lifestyle
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
renowned Canadian food writer, editor, chef, and shepherd capture the essence of the
better than we can express it anew.