The “Greening” of Soay Sheep

One of the joys of raising rare little sheep is the seemingly endless stream of “can you believe this?” stories.  Just before the holidays, we received an e-mail from a fellow breeder, Mike Reid from northern Oregon, with the latest.  Mike tells the story first-hand:

I don’t know what to make of it, but it has rained so much up here that Tandy, a spring lamb who is the largest of our batch, looks like a Chia Pet with sprouting green seeds on her back and neck. We left seed heads on the orchard pasture for extra feed for the sheep and she rubbed seeds into her coat….we’ll try to get pictures when the sun comes out again.

The discussion was fun at the time…”Is green a Soay color? Because Tandy has got some green on her back rear….” “Wait, there is more on her neck!” “What the devil is going on?” “She’s sprouting!”

So we can claim being the breeder of the first green Soay? (Hey, have to have fun with it…maybe she’s our St. Patrick Soay.).

I’ve heard of self-feeders for dogs and cats, but a self-feeding Soay sheep?

Alas, by the time Mike found time to photograph the portable pasture, most of the grass was gone.  He explains:

We think others have picked up on Tandy’s “problem” as there was less grass to take pictures of than we remembered from before. So while she might be self feeding, snacks are picked off by others who DON’T have to crane their necks.

For your winter amusement, here is the closest thing to a green Soay sheep my resident geneticist has ever heard of:


Just think, if several of Mike’s Soay grew their own sod, they could engage in their own variation of “pasture rotation.”
For now …