Joys & Sorrows

why raise Soay sheep, fun stuff, occasional sad stuff

Livestock Guardian Dogs For Your Flock: A Pictorial Primer

Livestock Guardian Dogs For Your Flock: A Pictorial Primer

I leave my Soay flock to their own devices today in order to talk about an essential part of any heritage sheep operation – predator control. For today’s essay, livestock guardian dogs, or LGDs. In the last 14 years, we have acquired nine LGDs: two mixed Maremma/Anatolian/Great Pyrenees and then a wonderful succession of seven […]

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Vespers on a Soay sheep farm: sweet music to our ears

Vespers on a Soay sheep farm: sweet music to our ears

Our indispensable livestock guardian dogs are an endless source of delight and amazement, and never more so than in the late afternoon when they provide a brief recital that echoes across our Little Applegate River Valley. It is so lovely and so sweet we have dubbed it “Vespers.” Let me explain. We have six Anatolian […]

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Why breed heritage sheep? To share the joys of raising them

Why breed heritage sheep? To share the joys of raising them

No amount of elegant writing, clever sayings, or even high quality photographs can compare in “advertising” value to the spontaneous and heartfelt messages we sometimes get from new or repeat customers when they arrive to pick up their sheep or see their new sheep come off Ron Keener’s truck. There is no question that these […]

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The taming of the ewe, and of the ram

The taming of the ewe, and of the ram

Where to put Soay rams and Soay ewes on the tame-to-wild spectrum seems to be this summer’s favorite question. Some folks are looking for docile sheep, some for sheep that will mimic life in the wild. Some breeders want to spend a lot of time with their animals, others want to simply watch the sheep […]

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Peaceful lambing, peaceful lamb

Peaceful lambing, peaceful lamb

One day and several hours’ sleep after I watched a Soay lamb born in the moonlight, I captured this tranquil scene. Not a picturesque background, I admit. It is a jug, after all. But what a calm mother and baby. And it turns out this little guy will be a breeder for us one day […]

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Soay lambing by moonlight: echoes of the St. Kilda islands

2:15 a.m. Thursday, April 5, 2012, just came in from a magical two hours with our pregnant ewes. Steve and Shawn both turned in early after a couple of really busy days – six lambings on Tuesday and seven yesterday – so I agreed to take the 9pm to midnight lamb checks. At 10:00 all […]

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