From St. Kilda Island (off shore Scotland) to Paradise Valley, Nevada
The Soay breed dates back to the Bronze Age. It has been protected for 5,000 years, thanks to its isolated conditions on a series of North Atlantic islands, called the St. Kilda group. These are some of the oldest rocks on earth. The name dates back to the Viking word for sheep (soay) as they sailed those ancient waterways. This is a hardy breed, slightly feral and smaller than most domestic sheep. There are two types of Soay sheep in North America (1) American Soay and (2) British Soay. The American Soay is a modern composite breed where early records are non existent. The British Soay or the RBST (Rare Breed Survival Trust) Soay are the primitive and historic Soay from St. Kilda. Thanks to careful and long term record keeping, they can be traced back to the United Kingdom and in some case back to the Island of Hirta. The North American export started in 1990 (from England to Montreal). Thanks to the efforts of Kathie Miller, the Canadian flock was moved in its entirety to the U.S. Since that move, the numbers have grown to over 300. Currently 50+ of those reside on this ranch. All of my Soay stock are the British Soay and are registered with the RBST. The current population is strong enough to support breeding stock sales. Call my ranch phone number.
As of April 2011, there is a new addition to the Soay resources. A small circle of Soay friends have just unveiled a new web site, www.friends of soay.com This new site combines a half dozen, like minded friends who are trying to promote the best of the registered (purebred) British Soay Sheep. This reflects the history and preservation of this first domesticated sheep breed, dating back 5,000 years.
Each spring when the breeding ram(s) are moved from the breeding corrals to the main corrals, there is the conflict between those who were around the ewes and those who were not (has something to do with smell). This pushing and bumping will last about a month.
Even the petroglyphs (copies) pay tribute to the sheep. In the case below it pays tribute to the Big Horn sheep that reside in different herds behind out house (higher into the mountains).