Flocksire Gallery



When we decided to plunge into conservation breeding with the authentic British Soay, there was no question but that we would begin with our magnificent ram, Astro. Of his 6 lambs in that first crop of British Soay lambs in 2006, only Keverne remains here; the rest have either moved to new homes or expired. We kept Astro year after year, never wanting to part with him even though by the "rules" his work here was complete. We eventually decided to breed him again. You may read about the outcome of his second breeding in the 2012-13 gallery below.


Chestnut was by far our most tenacious breeder. We first used him as a runty 6-month old lamb for our original American ewes in 2004-5. They were not impressed, but managed to overcome their preference for "a real man" sufficiently to conceive. The next year we bred him to British ewe Astoria because our primary British breeder that first year, Astro, was Astoria's son and we do not breed mothers to sons. Once again our under-appreciated little guy came through with our very first British lambs - twins Trenear and Tolcarne. He then went off to the Bull Pen to sulk and fight his way through several breeding seasons in an effort to gain respect, the Rodney Dangerfield of Saltmarsh Ranch. Before he could cripple himself or another ram in his quest for glory, we let him breed again in 2009-10.



Concerto cycled through our breeding program when we had only a few British ewes, but he gave us two flocksires and our lovely ewe Reeth, a consistent twinner. Concerto lived out his life as a mellow fellow on Rogue Mary Farm.


Jerry, one of Concerto's companions from the Greener Pastures flock, fathered several rams who bred well on our farm and in upstate New York and Missouri. He also begat one of our loveliest ewes, long-legged Pateley, Rhapsody's daughter. Jerry then moved on with Concerto. His small but important legacy reminds us that with rotational breeding, there often are pleasant surprises from otherwise ordinary-looking sheep.


Warwick, like Chestnut, was a wee lad when we got him from Kate Montgomery. She was so embarrassed at having reported him as a ewe that she gave him to us, and what a lucky break he was for us, siring a dozen American Soay and 10 British lambs here before moving back to her farm for more work. As far as we know, Warwick still graces the pastures of a Soay breeder near Seattle, and we hope he's having a peaceful dotage, or better yet, a busy one.



Cedar produced 10 lambs for us, including our first skewbald and Brampton, also a flocksire. Within days after breeding ended Cedar was killed by a dog; his lambing legacy lives on.


Fir bred at Mutiny Bay and Blue Mountain before coming here. Although he served up just six British lambs for us, his output includes the insufferable Patterdale, who in more ways than one would argue for quality over quantity. Fir also was a good example of unexpected horn issues. For six years his horns were tight but cleared comfortably. Then in March 2011 we needed to trim a horn that had taken a severe inward turn during the winter horn growth.


Haines' offspring are scattered throughout the country — Washington, Missouri, Colorado, California, New York, Oregon — and he now breeds in British Columbia. Three of his daughters are among our breeding ewes, and we bred his son Hesket. Although Haines' thick horns also turned in as a mature adult and had to be trimmed, Hesket's horns are extraordinarily wide and graceful.


Mustard bred in absentia for two years as a sperm donor in our artificial insemination program. The first year he was responsible for twins and two singles, and in 2009 he begat a single, 2 sets of twins, and 2 sets of triplets. His three sons served as flocksires and many of his daughters have bred for us. A light phase ram, Mustard served up three tan daughters and two tan sons, two white-spotted lambs, and a nearly black ram lamb. Needless to say, he added a lot to the genetic diversity of our flock and the 26 flocks across the US and Canada to whom we have sent his descendants.


Norris, our other sperm donor ram, "bred" one year, siring triplets and two sets of twins, and what an output: Several of his descendants are black or nearly so. He is reported to have polling in his ancestry. Whether he brought polling back into the North American-based flock is still a question. What we do know is that we have sent his descendants to 24 different flocks in the US and Canada, so if the reports of his genetic heritage were accurate, we should begin seeing scurred and possibly polled British Soay sheep on this continent one of these years.



Brampton, ah, where to begin. Linebred by accident when we put his mother in with the "wrong" ram, he qualified as a flocksire in the conservation rotation schedule. As luck would have it for him, we needed a flocksire from his blood line when he was still a lamb. But it looked to us as though the ewes were simply ignoring the little runt. Not a bit of it. Two of the first three lambs that year were Brampton's. All in, he give us three excellent flocksires and lots of pretty ewes. And look how he turned out as a mature ram! Eventually I persuaded Steve to part with him and he now lives on the east coast.


Curtis, a dark grey AI twin, bred early enough to he sire only four British lambs, but they included our first black Brit (Heywood). Like his twin Melvin (see 2010-11 sires here), Curtis' horns form seashell curls, but Curtis' horns still clear. At his last annual work, we noted they were "just fine, parallel, good clearance."


Emmett, our only AI single ram, is both enormous for a British Soay sheep and, ironically, gentle and beloved on the ranch. He dutifully produced lambs for us and then settled into his tenured retirement. In good health so far, he will live on in both his offspring and the wooly manque for which he was the model.


Finsbay was one of our best-looking flocksires and thankfully a linecross ram, which meant we bred two of his handsome sons as well, Preston and Eccleston. Two of his daughters stayed as part of our breeding flock, but Finsbay moved on to breed in Colorado.


Follifoot's parents came from Greener Pastures farm and we were pleased to add his genetics to our flock. Once he completed his chores here, he moved on to L7 Ranch in California. His daughter Pendlebury stayed here and one of his sons served as our teaser ram for several years.



Dalton, a "plain little brown sheep" according to our birth notes for him, served up 9 healthy lambs, including 3 white-spotted ones despite his having no known white in his lineage, and then moved on to the L7 Ranch.


Dean, an AI twin, shows the impact of new genetics from the UK: his facial features are coarse like his sire (Mustard) rather than the finer elongated face typical of British Soay derived from the Athelstan flock. Dean's offspring include several tan lambs; the rest carry the "b" gene. As an AI son, he has tenure here.


Glen, an AI twin, never was as fully black as his twin Vieva, but he fathered three black or near-black sons and a passel of brown lambs and even a tan ewe. Tenured because of his ancestry, Glen was pleased to breed a few more ewes in 2013.


Grassington bred here with no fuss and no bother and then moved on to the Diamond J Ranch in Minnesota where he came through with several more good-looking lambs before perishing recently in a farm fire.


Trenear inherited his sire's long wide horns as well as Chestnut's scrappy personality. His sons got the same glorious horn sets but apparently not the urge to fight. Trenear moved on to sire lots of lambs for Sona Caora Farm in California and now breeds for SWF Farm in Washington — very prolific ram.


Chestnut fought his way out of retirement and earned a second shot at producing British lambs for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, he sired only one set of British twins in 2006 when he was pressed into service to sub for Astro in order to avoid a mother/son breeding. Also, Chestnut's near ancestors were less closely related to the bulk of our flock in 2009-10 than the rams that had sired our first few years of British lambs, so we knew Chestnut would be good for our flock's overall diversity. Not that Chestnut was particularly finnicky about who he consorted with. Back when we raised American Soay, Chestnut also produced Fenugreek, a stunning tan crossbred American ram with gloriously long fleece whose gorgeous mahogany mother had perhaps the trashiest pedigree in Soay history. Go figure.



Beckfoot's history as a breeder is both routine and satisfying - no heroic tales, no brushes with death, no surprises, he just got the job done and already is responsible for more good lambs on the SWF Farm in Washington.


Buckley, an AI triplet out of Mustard, shares the same almost-black phenotype as twins Vieva and Curtis out of Norris, with no pattern on his belly, but with gleaming white private parts. His offspring include our odd-colored Darby (Vieva x Buckley)and three tan lambs.


Chadderton was our stealth breeder. The son of two plain brown sheep, he threw over 1/3 white spotted lambs, including at least 2 that qualify as skewbald, and 2 light phase lambs. Steve was so taken aback that he kept Chadderton until we could figure out what was going on. Happily for Chadderton, he now breeds at Charlottesville Farm north of here.


Eccleston's offspring are a textbook example of enhancing genetic diversity in the North American-based cohort of British Soay sheep. One of his sons is a breeding ram in upstate New York, and his daughters are in Missouri, Washington, South Dakota, and British Columbia.


Melvin, an AI twin, served as a linecross breeder. Three of his sons also have bred for us. Melvin inherited his sire Norris' tight horns, which eventually had to be cut severely to prevent neck injury. We will never know whether, had he lived on the ancestral islands, Melvin would have successfully bred or lost out in the rams' annual quest for first dibs on the ewes.


Milburn was unusually mellow and would lie down at our feet while we worked the other rams. But one of his horns aimed right at his jaw and had to be cut early on. He produced some lambs with tight horns and others (including flocksire Canterbury) with nicely-clearing horns. Of all our rams, none has tested our commitment to diversity — and not to cull for single traits — as much as Milburn.



Edward, an AI triplet, began life as a headliner, bided his time while we bred his brothers, and finally fathered lambs that are as typical-looking as you'll ever find, a nice mix of browns with a couple of tans, all different horn shapes. If only we had lined them up for a group photo to send to Central Soay Sheep Casting. As an AI son, Edward bred again in 2013 and now enjoys his tenured status in the Bull Pen.


Hambleton is one of our centerfold boys, with horns we described in a note as "a combination of Astro and Brampton," and a "fetching white foot." Thank goodness he was a linecross ram eligible to be a flocksire for us. As we often say on our For Sale page, having completed his work here, he was ready to move on to breed elsewhere and he has done so. Au revoir, stud muffin!


Kettlewell had such a gentle demeanor, peacefully overseeing his colleagues' hoof trims and even the removal of other rams' private parts — all without flinching himself. To our surprise, his 14 lambs included 7 white-spotted and 6 light phase. Shortly thereafter, he broke a leg, recovered, then apparently suffered a dislocated hip and eventually failed to the point of euthanasia.


Preston takes umbrage at our fawning over Hambleton, pointing that when he, Preston, was just a year old, we described HIM as "our stud muffin." Not surprisingly, Preston's lambs were especially handsome, including a son who just finished breeding for our 2014 lamb crop. To our surprise, Preston also threw four white-spotted lambs. He now lives and breeds in British Columbia.


Thorington is a "typical" British Soay sheep: brown, fairly close horns, and sturdy. His dozen lambs are pretty much the same. There are very few birth notes for them, only stuff like "twink," "still small but healthy," or "banded." Thorington was not a linecross breeder, so any of his ram lambs we did not sell to other breeders became wethers.


Westerfield is, to use human terms, the spitting image of his sire Dean, including the sightly ashy tone of his tan fleece. Westerfield begat a mix of brown and light phase lambs and is for sale to breed again on another farm.



Canterbury's sire Milburn was a linecross breeder and so Canterbury also served as a flocksire, producing a mix of typical-looking lambs. He survived a light "chewing" by one of our young LGDs (he probably butted the pup) and we may use him again to fill a gap in our ram rotation schedule.


Hesket is living proof that inheritance usually is a matter of odds, not certainty. Just looking at his horns, you would never know his sire is Haines (see 2008-09 flocksires here). A big chunk of Hesket's right horn broke off last July, with no sign of a fight or injury and not at a recent growth point — stuff happens.


Lyndhurst got to breed because his sire Melvin was a linecross breeder. Unlike his dad, Lyndhurst's horns are "nice and wide" and not even close to needing cutting. Three of his ewe lambs now live on the east coast and one of his ram lambs will be part of a starter flock for a new breeder next summer.


McKee, an AI triplet, served as a linecross breeder for us last year, so several of his offspring also will become flocksires here over the next three years. Initially his horns were very tight, but within two years they moved outward into very long curls. All but one of his sons have excellent horns as well.


Tarleton inherited both his dam's (Sequoia) white spotting and his sire's (Brampton) great horns. Not surprisingly, he sired many handsome lambs, including two extensively-spotted lambs who now live elsewhere. Having finished his work here, Tarleton is for sale to breed again on another farm.


This was Astro’s second chance. As we recount in more detail elsewhere, we made an exception to our own rules for conservation breeding and decided to let Astro breed a second time, both because we just couldn't let him expire without passing on more of his horn genes, but also because we only got six lambs from him the first time around. The old guy begat another 15 offspring: 6 ewes now found on farms across the US, and 9 linecross ram lambs. We are thrilled to be able to keep his line going by breeding some of his new sons, but we simply cannot use them all. Several are now for sale, individually or as part of a starter flock.


Soay Ram Fouldon


Fouldon, a light phase ram, shares his sire Dean's stout horns and slightly ashy fleece. Fouldon also is an AI grandson out of Mustard. He ended up with only 3 ewes in his breeding group. One ewe was open; one produced a cute ewe lamb (Twizell) we kept because we did not yet have a daughter from her mother (Kiger); and the third produced a handsome ram, Birling, who is for sale.
Soay Ram Whitehall


Whitehall is dark charcoal brown and a textbook example of the interesting colors showing up in formal conservation breeding these days in the British Soay flock infused with new genetics from the U.K. Stay with us on this rundown: Whitehall's sire is almost-black Buckley (AI out of light phase Mustard). His dam Tatum, part of the original foundation flock from Athelstan, is brown but she had a black lamb a few years ago, prior to Whitehall. So we shouldn't have been surprised when Whitehall showed up very dark.One of his sons, Ingram, is still here and for sale.
Soay Ram Chester


Chester began life on our farm as the comparatively huge companion of Peanut, a scary small lamb who eventually caught up with Chester. Chester is the grandson of our other AI flocksire, Norris. Because Chester was a linecross breeder, his son Ridsdale will breed for us.
Soay Ram Rushford


Rushford carries on the stately confirmation and symmetrical long horns of both his parents, as you'll see in his gallery. As a lamb, he had a white splotch on his face; it is barely visible at this point. Rushford's output is typical of our flock. He sired seven lambs from 5 ewes. One ewe lamb stayed here because we did not yet have a daughter from its mother Joie. Two ewe lambs, a wethered ram lamb, and a ram have gone to new homes on the east coast. One wether remains here and will be sold as a companion in a starter flock or butchered. The seventh lamb, ram Whalton, is for sale.



Lewes, the black son of black Glen and lavender-grey Darby


Plympton’s horns are even wider than his sire Hambleton’s rack


Whitestone’s parents, Preston & Forra Ness, are both plain brown sheep


Emsworth’s parents, AI Lilly J and the legendary Astro, are both plain brown sheep