2017 Soay lambs at Saltmarsh Ranch: the first wave

In our 14 years of Soay shepherding we often have been lucky to have really really good photographers on-site to help record the irresistible new lambs. This year is no exception. Here are our first eight heritage sheep — four sets of twins — captured by another worthy visiting photographer. Most or all of these authentic Soay lambs will be for sale, but not until we have frittered away sunny afternoons watching them frolic in their play area. Sit back and enjoy!

First lambs of the year: brown twin ewe and ram from Willen x Emmett

Black twin rams from Cley x Sheffield

Black twin ram from Ascott x Sheffield

Brown twin ram from Ascott x Sheffield

Black twin ram lambs from Darby x Sheffield

A couple of editorial comments: in 2013 we named our lambs for towns in County Sussex in England in honor of the marriage of our nephew to a woman whose family came from Sussex for the wedding. Two of the rams from that year, Sheffield and Hastings, came up in the breeding rotation this year. Both Sheffield and Hastings were pitch black at birth and have remained nearly black as adults, although Sheffield’s top coat bleaches out a lot. We do not have lambs from Hastings as yet, but the ewes he bred are way pregnant so we knew their lambs will be part of our second wave one of these days.

Nearly-black Hastings in his breeding group in November 2016

Black Sheffield with bleached top coat in his breeding area November 2016

Our other breeding ram this year, Saltmarsh Emmett, is the rare ram to have a second chance to breed. As one of our original lambs from artificial insemination, Emmett bred early but only to a few ewes, and before he went to his well-earned reward in the sky we wanted to breed him again. The cute little brown twins who arrived first this year are his offspring from breeding him to Willen.

Iconic AI ram Emmett came through with our only ewe lamb so far

Winsome Willen as a yearling loved our pasture grass

The report on Wave Two of lambing on our farm will arrive as soon as the lambs arrive.

For now …