RBST Foundation Flock USA0001
Registered Soay sheep
Asked Questions about Soay Sheep
Where do Soay Sheep come from?
Soay sheep originate from the 250 acre island of Soay in
the St. Kilda archipelago one hundred and ten miles west
of Scotland. Since 1932 they
have also lived on St. Kilda's
largest island of Hirta. Both
populations live feral. All sheep that eventually made
their way to North America originated from the Hirta
What is a British
Registered (aka British) Soay?
British Soay is a Soay sheep born in North American that
is registered (birth notified) with the Combined Flock
Book of Rare Breeds Survival Trust in England.
an American Soay (aka North American Soay)?
American Soay is a hybrid of Soay and a variety of
American breeds of sheep. It was originally developed in
the US beginning in1985.
factors should I keep in mind when taking
Soay sheep home?
How do I care for Soay
How big are Soay sheep?
Approximately 24" at the withers, ewes weight about
50-60 lb and rams about 60 to 80
What does a Soay sheep look like?
Do all Soay ewes have horns?
about ram's horns?
third of the ewes on Hirta are horned; the remainder are
either polled or scurred. Presently all British Soay
ewes are horned. Ram's horns come in a variety of
kind of fencing and shelter do I need?
How long is Soay
Approximately 148 days
give or take a couple of days (five months)
Based on the birth of 32 lambs born via Artificial
Insemination where the date of conception was known
gestation was as follows:
147 days- 7 ewes
148 days- 9 ewes
149 days -6 ewes
150 days- 4 ewes
151 days -6 ewes
When is breeding Season?
November and December.
When is lambing Season?
Generally March through May
.However, they can lamb
outside the traditional lambing season of March and
April and many keepers have experienced "surprise" late
lambs, some as late as October and very rarely as early
as late January.
Do Soay ewes lamb more
than once a year?
No, they lamb once a season.
I make a pet out of a ram lamb? No, tame
rams can be a threat when they mature, castrates (wethers) on the other
hand make great pets.
What do I need to know about lambing and lamb
Can I vaccinate pregnant ewes?
Yes. We vaccinate about one month before lambing
Can I worm pregnant ewes?
can with a wormer that is safe for pregnant ewes such as
Ivomec and Panacure. Do not use Valbazen (albendazoe)
How long do Soay sheep live?
average a Soay ewe lives to be between
9-15 years . Rams generally have a
shorter life span, in the wild six is the average age.
In managed flocks they can live to be twelve to fifteen,
however that is the exception. Seven to ten is more
Do Soay sheep get fly strike?
do and it can be life threatening.
Do Soay Sheep always shed?
often wethers, some rams and ewes that have not lambed
do not shed. The current thinking is that hormones and
body condition control shedding. For their comfort in
the summer heat and to reduce the
threat of fly strike we shear those
ourselves (with hand shears or
scissors) that have not
shed by late June or July. When sheep are hot they eat
less and can be thin going
into winter, something you can not see happening under a
full fleece. Removal of retained wool is very important
in areas where fly-strike, a potentially life
threatening problem, is prevalent because flies lay
their eggs on the skin under the wool where hatching
maggots are hidden from view.
Are Soay Hair sheep?
Many websites on the Internet wrongly
claim that Soay are a hair sheep because they shed their
wool someone's definition of a hair sheep. This is not
true. Soay are in fact a wool sheep and it is their
development of their wool that is an indicator that they
are a domestic sheep and not a wild sheep.
Soay sheep a landrace breed?
Many websites also wrongly
claim that Soay sheep are a landrace breed, this is not
correct, they are a feral breed.
have read that Soay can not be worked with
Soay can be worked with dogs, but
not in the same way that
commercial sheep are worked, but they
must be taught
to understand Soay. A well trained dog will learn to
work the sheep from a distance knowing that once a flock
is put under pressure by a dog it will split
into separate flocks.