With the number “70” getting perilously close for Priscilla, we have concluded we can no longer maintain a flock of the size we are accustomed to and that we love. We realize we need to cut back our flock of 140 heritage British Soay sheep, perhaps by as much as half, and we hope you will help us out.
We have reduced the price of our RBST-registered purebred sheep by half – to $250 per ewe and $175 per ram — until we reach the “right” size flock.
Much as we hate having to make this move, we also look forward to working with
new breeders who are considering a small or medium-sized starter flock
existing breeders wanting to expand their flocks
people looking for a few ewes only, or rams only, to keep their small pastures or large yards mowed without using gas or electric power mowers
As always, we will help buyers locate transportation if they live too far to pick up their sheep on our farm in southern Oregon. We have
adult, yearling and lamb rams ready to breed
a few adult ewes who already have proven they are good lambers
some yearling ewes all grown up and ready to breed for the first time
a passel of irresistible ewe lambs that should be raised for another year before being bred
One thing has not changed at all: we still can offer the most genetically diverse starter flocks of British Soay sheep in North America and our greatest joy is helping new breeders get started with this marvelous heritage breed.
We look forward to working with you to find the right mix of Soay sheep for your property and your needs. Half price for you, half flock for us, almost a win-win situation! Sigh.
We were excited about the prospects for lambing this spring and the ewes did not disappoint! 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 who gave us several dozen healthy lambs, all now weaned and on our lush summer pastures, but the selection shown also is representative of the genetic diversity in our flock.
For the current cycle, we bred one ram (Lewes) from our C bloodline to several of our B bloodline ewes. Both ewe and ram lambs from this outcross breeding are now available for sale. Similarly, one of our B bloodline rams (Emsworth) bred a group of C bloodline ewes, and all of the resulting outcross lambs are for sale.
We also had two linecross breeding groups, each consisting of an A ram and several A ewes. One group was 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 are for sale.
The ewes we bred 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: five sets of twins, AI triplets, and the rest singles — ending her lambing career with a pair of linecross ram lambs. Her sons Edward and Rushford both bred for us earlier 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.”
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.