Here on the croft we keep a breeding flock of Soay sheep; rams and ewes of various ages, and our eldest Ewe sadly died in June 2016 at the age of 15 years.
The Soay breed are a primitive breed that date back thousands of years and all Soay sheep are descended from those found on the Island of Soay. This Island is one of the smaller Islands that make up the St Kilda group of Islands of Hirta, Borerary, Dun and Levernish in the Outer Hebrides.
All the Soay at Kilvaree are registered with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) and are classified as ’at risk’ on the RBST watchlist. The RBST are a leading national charity that has been working to conserve and protect the rare native breeds of the UK from extinction since 1972.
Unlike domestic breeds, Soay sheep shed their fleece naturally in the spring/early summer and at this time all of the wool is collected from the fields, places where the sheep have rubbed against the fences or trees. The sheep are also fine boned, very nimble and intelligent animals, and the ewes are excellent mothers. They are almost ‘deer’ like in their behaviour, which can make it more difficult to round them up as they have a tendency to scatter. The ewes can either be two- horned or polled (naturally without horns) and the rams are two- horned. There are a variety of colourings for the breed and here at Kilvaree the flock is made up of dark/light brown and blond coloured sheep and they all have lighter coloured bellies.
The Kilvaree flock are breeding stock and none go to slaughter. All of the fleece gathered is used for producing felt and wool yarn, and periodically we do sell some of the sheep to other registered breeders or for those wanting a ‘registered’ starter flock.
For latest sales of sheep go to Sales & Enquiries.