Soay Sheep Origin, Facts, Weight, Height, Milk, Meat Quality

The Soay sheep is a domestic sheep breed found on Soay Island, which is a part of the St. Kilda Archipelago. This Archipelago is situated approximately 200 km west of Scotland's Western Isles. The sheep are small in size, brownish to dark black in appearance, with a single pair of horns and short tails.

It is believed that Soay sheep were first presented to the British Isles during the Neolithic to the Iron Age timeframes. They are regarded as remnants of previously unaltered breeds. Its name is derived from the name of the island in the St Kilda group, but in ancient Norse, the word Seyoy means "sheep island." It was first defined in the 17th century by Martin Martin, a tourist to western Scotland. There are just about 950 to 1,500 enrolled breeding Soay ewes left today. Because of the changing climate, the breed is diminishing.

    Soay Sheep Facts

    Soay sheep meat is known for being skinny, soft, and cholesterol-free. When compared to more prevalent sheep varieties it has a better flavor and a gamey taste. The Soay is highly resilient and can thrive in the harshest of environments. Anecdotal information shows that Soays have a reduced prevalence of footrot, a decreased likelihood of flystrike (since they can shed their own fleeces), and an innate tolerance to most illnesses that affect more established breeds. Ewes can deliver lambs as young as ten to twelve years old. Lambing percentages vary from 80% to 90% when allowed to their own ways based on region, but can reach 150 percent in the lowlands with proper care. Lambs are smaller, easy to born and grow quickly.

    Soay Sheep Origin, Facts, Weight, Height, Milk, Meat Quality

    Soay Sheep Origin

    The Soay sheep is a regional sheep breed evolved from a feral sheep population on the 100-hectare island of Soay in the St Kilda Archipelago, approximately 65 km west of Scotland's Western Isles. It is a short-tailed sheep breed native to Northern Europe.

    Soay Sheep Weight

    The Soay sheep breed is small sheep breed with fully grown ewes weigh approximately 25kg or 55 pounds and young healthy rams weigh around 40kg or 88 pounds. 

    Soay Sheep Height

    Soay sheep are small in size and grow slowly. They are slender, fine-boned elfin sheep that stand approximately 22 inches tall at the withers.

    Soay Sheep Milk Production

    Soay Sheep are mainly bred for meat purposes as their meat is lean, tender with full of natural flavors but they are not good milkers and they are mostly raised to meet meat industry requirements.

    Soay Sheep Meat Quality

    Soay sheep meat is lean, soft, and cholesterol-free. When compared to more prevalent sheep breeds, the meat has a richer flavor and a gamey taste. Breeding with larger domestic sheep (such as Mule or Suffolk sheep) can result in bigger carcasses that are lean and maintain a lot of flavor.

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