About Soay Sheep

Southern Oregon Soay Sheep Farms

The Soay sheep is a small, primitive domestic sheep. Generally dark brown or tan in color with a white belly, it has existed in isolation on a tiny island west of Scotland for more than a thousand years. Because of this isolation and the difficult environment in which it evolved the Soay is naturally a very hardy animal. With the least amount of human care it will thrive. Unlike more domesticated breeds, it seems to be less troubled by parasites, foot rot and other ailments that so often afflict other sheep. It is thrifty and very low in maintenance, sheds its wool, lambs easily and does not need its tail docked. This makes it an ideal livestock animal for the organic homesteader, small rancher or back yard hobbyist. It is perfect for the urban "farmer" who lives in an area zoned for farm animals. Although it is naturally shy, when kept in small quarters and handled from a young age it becomes quite tame.

The wool is soft and fine, but hairy fibres are usually interspersed among the wool fibres.
The staple length is 5-8cm (2-3 inches), and the Bradford Count is 44-50.   The fleece is shed naturally. Rams develop a thick hairy mane.
The wool is either chocolate or fawn, and animals may be either whole-coloured or show the 'Mouflon' pattern. Chocolate brown and the 'Mouflon' pattern are dominant. Some black animals occur and these are always self-coloured. There may also be white marks on the face, poll and lower legs, and occasionally piebald.

The face and legs are brown or tan, with lighter marks over the eyes and on the muzzle and the lower jaw. The face is 'dished'. Rams are two-horned and the horns are strong. Ewes are either two-horned or polled.

Please visit the following sites which have kindly provided some of the information for this page :-

Rare Breeds Survival Trust

Soay Farms

For more information about Cheddar Soay Sheep contact the Soay Sheep Society :-

E mail the membership secretary at

or the breed secretary at E mail


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