Soay Sheep Breeders

We have been breeding pure Soay sheep in West Wales since 1993. Our farm is situated on a plateau above the beautiful Teifi Valley – the River Teifi is the only river that completes its journey from source to the sea in Wales. Our natural pastures produce a wonderful and plentiful supply of grasses and clovers for our sheep to enjoy. 

Soay sheep are a very ancient and rare breed having originated at least since the Iron and Bronze Ages. Both sexes usually have horns, but we do have the polled gene in some of our flock which sometimes produces polled ewes. 

The fleece is fairly short – between one to one and a half inches. In early summer if the fleece is ‘lifting’ it is possible to roo it off. That is hand pluck. It is not always possible to do this all at the same time, so if by the end of June some individuals still have some or all their fleece we shear this off on shearing day when all our other sheep are sheared. Fleece colours are usually blond, rich brown, or dark (almost black).

Soay sheep

Soay Lambs

Because of their primitive origins Soays can be very flighty and nervous. Although they jump in the air when leaving a shed or when moving to another field, we have never had them jump a fence to escape the farm. However, like all sheep breeds they like to wander as “the grass is always greener on the other side”, so there needs to be good fencing to keep them contained.

They can easily be trained to follow a bucket of food which helps with handling when tasks need to be carried out, e.g. hoof care and worming.

Soay ewes produce a single lamb, twins or triplets. Lambs intended for meat take longer to mature than modern commercial breeds of sheep, but the meat is very tasty as is the case with most ancient breeds. Tails are not docked.

Soays are a delightful little sheep to own, although not a breed for the faint-hearted! When a group of Soays move across a field (they tend to stay together even when mixed with other breeds of sheep) one can imagine the contribution these charming sheep made to the Iron and Bronze Age landscape.

No sheep of this breed for sale at present except for a Soay ram.

Soay sheep

Soay sheep

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