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American RBST Foundation Flock USA0001
British Registered Soay sheep

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Southern Oregon Soay Sheep Farms
a monthly newsletter

I am pleased to present a monthly farm newsletter, ViewpointBorn out of my love of these sheep and the people I have encountered over a 16 year journey as a British Soay breeder, Viewpoint is designed as an educational, entertaining and useful tool to enhance the reader’s knowledge and enjoyment of this breed and its care. Each month I will present a featured article that will detail an aspect of sheep farming based on my or fellow breeders own experiences, a Monthly Calendar of farm management reminders, a Tip of the Month, personal reminiscences, as well as related lists, recipes or schedules that complement the articles. Due to health issues, after nearly four years of a monthly newsletter I have had to change the  format to one of an "occasional paper" as things are brought to my attention that I feel will be of interest to fellow British Soay breeders. So check back often

Viewpoint is available in PDF format and has been formatted for printing and saving. Each new edition will be added to this page as it comes out so that you can access both current and older issues. Please email us at kathiem@soayfarms.com to be added to the mailing list. You will receive an email with a link to the latest copy each month. We hope you enjoy Viewpoint, and look forward to hearing from you.
                                Subject Index,  April 2008- May 2011
To make Viewpoint  more useful, I have added a subject index which will direct you  where to find the resources, recipes, books, equipment and featured topics that have been mentioned in past issues.  The index has been formatted for printing and saving.

December 2013
   Feature "Fourth Annual British Soay Gathering"

October/November 2012
     Feature "Copper Toxicity in Soay Sheep"

                      "Fall 2012  Circle of Friends, British Soay Breeders Gathering

January/February 2012
     Feature "A Happy Ending"
 An injured ram who could not longer live with his flock gets a second chance.
                       "Think Like a Sheep"  Solving a barnyard mystery
Regular Features
         Calendar of the month
         Resource Guide
Livestock protection dog guides

December 2011

     Feature "In the Grease,  A Wool Gathering"
second annual Midwest British Soay Breeders Gathering turned into a wonderful workshop on Sheep Care and Wool.
                       "Problem Solved"  For years I've never come up with a salt dispenser for rams, until now.
Regular Features
         Calendar of the month watch rams weight, worm as necessary
         Resource Guide resources for information on wool

May 2011
     Feature "Soay Artificial Insemination Project Photo Gallery" 
Welsh sires and their Oregon (US)  lambs

Regular Features
         Calendar of the month
vaccinate lambs, worm lambs, castrate rams lambs,
birth notify/register RBST lambs, Black Sheep Gathering, Eugene Oregon

         Resource Guide,
Lambing and Lamb Care Guide

April 2011
     Feature "Soay Artificial Insemination Project" 
The efforts to get Soay semen from the UK to the US to expand our very limited gene pool has been a long project. We started talking about it in 2000, our first success occurred in 2007 (with lambs in  2008) and our second occurred in 2010 which has just produced lambs in April 2011. The next few years will be spent doing more AI and seeing what these new genetics  will produce for the US flock.

Regular Features
         Calendar of the month prepare for lambing: get fecal samples and worm ewes accordingly, clean up the barnyard, vaccinate ewes a month before lambing
Resource Guide,
an accurate gestation guide

March 2011
     Feature "
Barn Dance"  When it was time to replace the old pump house I had  been using as a shelter for the rams, I had some very specific ideas about what I wanted to build to replace it. It had to be economical, easy to clean and make it easy to manage my gang of rams.

"Eating Disorder When my 20 year old llama started getting thin I had to take some unconventional measures to get him to put on weight  
Regular Features
         Calendar of the month Before lambs start to arrive restock lambing supplies, prepare birthing records, prepare a "jug" (small pen to isolate a ewe and lamb) in case you need it, have your list of names ready, make sure your camera is handy
Resource Guide,
I could not manage my livestock without Shaul's Mfg. lightweight panels, a little book about building small barns

February  2011
     Feature "
Broken Record."
February is a good month for paperwork.  For years I have harped at British Soay Breeders to keep up with their RBST registrations for without it the sheep may as well simply go to slaughter. The reasons why we register with the RBST.
                  " A Bad Break ",  A story about Inga her broken leg, what we did and now she is suffering from cabin fever.

Regular Features
         Calendar of the month Catch up on paperwork, catalog season is here, restock supplies, watch winter weigh, especially rams.
Resource Guide, RBST, Soay Sheep Society, Grassroots registry

January 2011
"Soay Futures"
A critical component of any conservation breeding program is finding the right people who will commit to the breed and to the responsible expansion of its numbers, engaging young people in that effort is an important component of this. Lesson of the Day is the story of one science teacher who is doing just that, hopefully it will inspire others to do the same.

Regular Features
         Calendar of the month Merge rams back to bachelor flocks, keep breeding ewes separate from non breeders, trim feet while ground is soft, continue watching for coughing and runny noses.
Resource Guide Rabies is an increasing problem around the country and it does effect sheep, some ideas for dealing with it including some resource articles..

December  2010
     Feature "All that wool, part 2..."
Now that the Soay wool is washed, it is ready for picking, carding, spinning, felting or weaving. Some of the very basics to spark your interest in all of these crafts with lots of links to get your started and some ideas for what you can do with Soay wool.
                  " Soay wool facts",  how much, how long, Bradford count, what ratio fleece to yarn, using ram wool

Regular Features
         Calendar of the month Cold season is here, watch for coughing, runny noses, trim hooves, watch weight on older breeding rams
Resource Guide, Spin-off Magazine, Antrim Hand weaving, wool picking, drop 
spindles, carding, spinning and felt artist sites

November  2010
          Feature "
All that wool..." 
While wool production is not why we raise Soay Sheep, there are lots of things you can do with their fleece.  It can be felted (to which it is especially suited), spun, knitted and woven.  But before you begin it must be cleaned and washed. In the first of a two part series, here are some basics of working with Soay wool.

                   "A little magic" British Soay have always brought a bit of magic to my life, now the have done that for someone else.

Regular Features
     Tip of the Month  ram proofing water pipes
     Calendar of the month
November is all about the rut; selecting breeding groups, putting ewes to rams , dealing with ram behavior

October  2010
     Feature "
Adaptability"  Visiting a variety of other Soay sheep farms is so educational. You learn about problems others have to deal with and you get new ideas about how to modify your own operation.

                     "A Find and A loss"  getting lambs ready for their long trip across the United States to their new homes.

Regular Features
     Tip of the Month  Marksman for Sheep and lambs a spray paint for sheep
     Calendar of the month
, Time to start putting rams to ewes, Deadlines for RBST registrations and the Combined Flock Book

September 2010
     Feature "
Livestock Guarding Dogs"
   I have kept Livestock Protection Dogs for twenty five years and used them both in the big city and the country for livestock and birds and will never be without one, but they are not for everyone. 
                      "A Stinging Truth"  Poor old Galadriel's allergic reaction to a bee sting .Regular Features
     Tip of the Month re-home an adult working LGD that has lost its farm or flock
     Calendar of the month
, Breeding season is around the corner, time to think about breeding groups and where you are going t o put them, continue barnyard clean up and make repairs around the farm

August 2010
     Feature "Back to the Beginning"
This project has been a decade long treasure hunt, sometimes just little clues are uncovered and sometimes they are momentous. This time they were momentous.  My visit with Ann and Thomas Knowles of Burstye Farm in West Sussex, England
egular Features
     Tip of the Month another use for electrical tape
     Calendar of the month
, heath certificates (US) and movement licenses (UK) for
      moving sheep. T
ime to get hay for winter

June  2010

     Feature "Starter Flocks" 
with lambing behind us it is time to think about beginner flocks.  Wethers (neutered males) are ideal for this and not often discussed.  Some things to think about and options for starting out.
                      "Annual Calendar" A basic  yearly Soay sheep calendar for beginners in both the US and the UK

Regular Features
                 Tip of the month  plant a willow bush on your farm; willow leaves will often

                  encourage a sheep that is off its feed to eat.

May 2010
     Feature  "
Handling Your Soay Sheep
Soay sheep have an undeserved reputation for being wild, hard to manage and not workable with herding dogs. None of the three need to be true.
egular Features
     Tip of the Month You can't have too many gates
     Resource Guide,
barnyard plans, Shaul light-weight panels,  UK Hurdles
     Calendar of the month
lambs are due for first injections, watch for coccidiosis
      and weight loss in lactating ewes.
     Special feature  YOUTUBE video of a very tame lamb.

April  2010
     Feature  "
DIY Sheep Care, Part 2
Learning to do rudimentary diagnostic exams yourself is part of being a good shepherd.  A few things to watch for to help you take better care of your sheep.
                      "The Candy Store Out Back"  Just like kids that eat too much candy sheep can get too much of a good thing and get upset stomachs too.

egular Features
     Tip of the Month collecting fecal samples the clean way
     Resource Guide,
articles on internal parasites, Probios paste, sharps containers
     Calendar of the month
lambs are arriving, pick out names, clean up barn yard 
       eliminating hazards for lambs, make water tanks safe.

March   2010
     Feature  "
DIY Sheep Care, Part 1
Veterinarians who treat farm animals are getting harder and harder to find, because of this shortage farmers increasingly have to depend on their own rudimentary vet skills, like giving shots,  to care for their animals.
                      "The Miracle of St. Ana"  St. Ana was the very first "British Soay" in the USA, she was special and we almost lost her too soon

egular Features
     Tip of the Month crowd sheep tightly in a small pen to handle them
      Resource Guide, Some useful veterinary guides for the sheep farmer
     .Calendar of the month
time to start getting ready for lambing

February 2010
     Feature  "
Winter Care, Part 2
When the snow has melted and is replaced with
         mud and muck a new set of headaches can arise, foot scald and respiratory
         problems among them.
                      "A Book Review"  Storey's Guide to Raising Miniature Livestock by
                        Sue Weaver
egular Features
     Tip of the Month an old metal garbage can filled with water makes a great
      bashing toy that rams cannot knock over.
      Resource Guide, Dr. Naylor
« Hoof n Nail«, on line visual guide for trimming feet,
      details for Storey's newest Guide, Hobby Farms magazine, favorite on line
       livestock supply catalogs
      Important Announcement for UK Breeders regarding electronic ID tags
      Calendar of the month
Its catalog season, time to restock supplies, trim 

January 2010

     Feature  "
Winter Care
Winter cold and deep snow bring new challenges 
       and potential problems in caring for our animals
. Acidosis and urinary calculi  
       can be two that we don't necessarily think of and are relatively easy to prevent.
                      "The Perfect Christmas Present"  Gamma Seal Lids are not your                  typical "mom" Christmas gift but were perfect for this one.
egular Features
      Tip of the Month  turn empty buckets into useful, water tight storage containers
      Resource Guide A variety of sourcesLanda Weatherbeeta dog coats, Gamma         Seal lid,  a safer Heat Lamp.
      US/UK  translations :Supplements (US) = Concentrates (UK) etc.

       Calendar of the month 
Merge rams back into bachelor flocks in late January, watch for excessive
      fighting, remove visual screens from fences, merge ewes back together, vaccinate
      rams and trim feet, get fecal samples to vet for evaluation.


November   2009
     Feature  "
Girl Talk
The fall rut isn't just a "guy thing", ewe behavior changes too
                      "Birds, Bees and Lambs"  A short story about a late bloomer
egular Features
      Tip of the Month  Keep good records of all dates
      Resource Guide Books on conservation breeding strategies
alendar of the month 
Still time to put rams to ewes, put up visual barriers between breeding groups,
       watch for runny noses/raspy breathing, trim hooves

October 2009
     Feature  "
Male Bashing
With autumn comes the rut and changes in appearance,
         behavior and temperament.
                      "Certainly, Unabashed and Dashed"  How old must a lamb be before
          she can get pregnant?

Regular Features
      Tip of the Month  Ram lambs can be fertile at four months
      Resource Guide Books and on-lines sources about rams and the rut
alendar of the month
Time to put breeding pairs together, RBST birth notification and registrations are

September 2009
     Feature  "
Traveler's Tales
Two stories about runaway Soay and how they found
     their way home
                      "An Early Lesson" Soay can jump like fleas, I learned the hard way not
       to get in their way.

Regular Features
      Tip of the Month  Soay love zucchini (Courgettes)
      Resource Guide Breeders Assistant
Database Software for managing your flock
alendar of the month
 Colder weather and short days mean the rut is around the corner start getting
          prepared, start planning fall breeding groups, start preparing for winter..

August 2009
     Feature  "
Soay Fleece Management
In spite of literature to the contrary, Soay
      sheep are very prone to fly-strike (wool maggots) in areas where blow flies are
      found. Close observation and fleece management are critical to preventing or
      controlling this potentially life threatening problem.
                      "Sheep in the Mist" A little trick I learned for keeping Soay sheep more
      comfortable in searing heat.

Regular Features
      Tip of the Month  disposable fly traps
      Resource Guide Where to find a "Shepherd's Mate" portable head gate, which
      clamps on to a fence or hurdle for restraining sheep (from the UK, I am still looking
      for one in the US), dagging (hand) shears, fact sheet on parasitic diseases in
      sheep including fly-strike
alendar of the month
 Get hay for the winter, ship lambs, wean rams lambs from their mothers.

July 2009
     Feature  "Summer Lamb Chores" 
Creep panels (pre- weaning), scrapie ear
             tags, ram lamb castration, shots and worming

                     "A slow descent into madness" and I thought I had sent Roy a Soay

June 2009
     Feature  "
Barn placement
Things to think about when building a small farm; barn
                 placement, water and air drainage, barn access, water runoff, manure

                 "The barn and the blues" the beginning of a long career with blue tarps
                  while I wished for a real barn.

May 2009
     Feature  "
Soay Lambing 101"
Get your binoculars ready.  Soay ewes
very easily with few problems. The lambing process, what to expect,
                where to find information in case there are difficulties, rejected lambs and
                what to do with the newborns
; ear tags, shots, records, etc.

              "Mini and Mighty" Dalton mini-ear tags, used for identifying newborn lambs

April 2009    One Year Anniversary Issue
     Feature  "Moving Mountains"
  Coccidiosis is a common problem with lambs,
                      especially bottle babies.
Breaking the cycle by hauling manure away and                        a strategic de-worming program for ewes will help reduce the problem.
                      "Of Trial and Tractors" A pensioner's story about learning to drive a
                        new tractor.
     Feature  "What's in a Name"
naming themes for Soay sheep; we borrowed it
                              from the Canadians, they borrowed it from a British
tradition                        "An unexpected gift" a special name for a special lamb
February 2009
     Feature  "Barn Pharmacy 101"
the importance of a well stocked barn pharmacy
                      "The Medicine Chest" a list of supplies and medicines to start out with
January 2009
      Feature "Merge with Caution"
merging rams after breeding season
                        "Choosing ones Battles" sometimes one has to be creative
December 2008
    Feature "The Expected Unexpected
" preparing for emergencies
                        "It always happens in the middle of the night
" - and I thought I was
November 2008
     Feature "Shipping Soay"  
How to get sheep across the country from the
                          breeder to your farm
                         "An Early Christmas Story"   
The lambs arrive    
October 2008
     Feature "Soay School Abroad". 
A trip to St. Kilda and a photo gallery of Soay
         on St. Kilda, Scotland

September 2008
      Feature "
Soay School", 
A week-end workshop of hands-on experience working 
       with Soay sheep.
       "Alice's Old Barn"  a "teaching tool"  sometimes it pays to "not have the money" 

August 2008
"Handling horns"
  dispelling some of the myths about horns, how to cut
          ram's horns, 
Soay horns as they age.
       "The Hard Way"  a story about a bored ram and a new fence line     

July 2008
"Fringe Benefits"
going into the wool business, rooing  (hand plucking)
           Soay sheep. from sheep to shawl
       "Of Fleece and Friendship"  a very special chocolate brown knit Soay hat          

June 2008
      Feature "Coping with Teenagers"
At about three weeks Soay lambs turn into
        teenagers, ignoring their mothers and getting into mischief;
broken horns 
        heads stuck in fences, playtime
Creep Feeders for transitioning lambs from milk to hay,
       "Lights out"  when the sun goes down
May 2008
"Bottle Feeding Soay Lambs"
raising an orphan or supplementing a
         mother's milk without taking her lamb away, how much to feed, how often, what to
         watch for: scours, signs of too little milk, coccidiosis
         "Maya's story, My first Bottle Baby"  A lamb rejected by her mother

April 2008 Premiere Issue
"Breeding the Older Ewe" - My firsthand experience at breeding an
                older Soay ewe, special care and feeding.
           "A Mother's Need" -   Can a Soay Sheep grieve?  Never underestimate the
                 bond between a Soay ewe and her lamb.    

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