American RBST Foundation Flock USA0001
British Registered Soay sheep
Southern Oregon Soay Sheep Farms
a monthly newsletter
I am pleased to present
farm newsletter, Viewpoint. Born out of
my love of these sheep
and the people I have encountered
over a 16 year journey as a
British Soay breeder, Viewpoint
is designed as an educational, entertaining and useful tool to enhance the
readers knowledge and enjoyment of this breed and its care. Each month
present a featured article that will detail an aspect of sheep farming based on
my or fellow breeders own
experiences, a Monthly Calendar of farm management reminders, a Tip of the Month, personal
reminiscences, as well as related lists, recipes or schedules that complement the
articles. Due to health issues, after nearly four years
of a monthly newsletter I have had to change the format to one of an
"occasional paper" as things are brought to my attention that I feel will be
of interest to fellow British Soay breeders. So check back often
Viewpoint is available in PDF format and has been formatted for
printing and saving. Each new edition will be added to this page as it comes out so that
you can access both current and older issues. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing
list. You will receive an email with a link to the latest copy each month. We hope you
enjoy Viewpoint, and look forward to hearing from you.
April 2008- May 2011
To make Viewpoint
more useful, I have added a subject index which will direct you where to find the
resources, recipes, books, equipment and featured topics that have been mentioned in past
issues. The index has been formatted for
printing and saving.
Feature "Fourth Annual British Soay Gathering"
Feature "Copper Toxicity in Soay Sheep"
2012 Circle of Friends, British Soay Breeders Gathering
Feature "A Happy Ending" An
injured ram who could not longer live with his flock gets a second chance.
"Think Like a Sheep" Solving a barnyard
of the month
Livestock protection dog guides
Feature "In the Grease, A Wool Gathering"
second annual Midwest British Soay Breeders Gathering turned into a
wonderful workshop on Sheep Care and Wool.
"Problem Solved" For years I've never come up with a
salt dispenser for rams, until now.
of the month watch
rams weight, worm as necessary
Resource Guide resources
for information on wool
Artificial Insemination Project Photo Gallery"
sires and their Oregon (US) lambs
of the month,
vaccinate lambs, worm lambs, castrate
birth notify/register RBST lambs, Black Sheep Gathering, Eugene Oregon
Lambing and Lamb Care Guide
Artificial Insemination Project"
efforts to get Soay semen from the UK to the US to expand our very limited
gene pool has been a long project. We started talking about it in 2000, our
first success occurred in 2007 (with lambs in 2008) and our second
occurred in 2010 which has just produced lambs in April 2011. The next few
years will be spent doing more AI and seeing what these new genetics
will produce for the US flock.
of the month
prepare for lambing: get fecal samples and worm ewes
accordingly, clean up the barnyard, vaccinate ewes a month before lambing
an accurate gestation guide
Dance" When it was time to replace the old pump house I had
been using as a shelter for the rams, I had some very specific ideas about
what I wanted to build to replace it. It had to be economical, easy to clean
and make it easy to manage my gang of rams.
When my 20 year old llama started getting thin I had to
take some unconventional measures to get him to put on weight
of the month
Before lambs start to arrive restock lambing supplies,
prepare birthing records, prepare a "jug" (small pen to isolate a ewe and
lamb) in case you need it, have your list of names ready, make sure your
camera is handy
I could not manage my livestock
without Shaul's Mfg. lightweight panels, a little book about building small
is a good month for paperwork. For years I have harped at British Soay Breeders to
keep up with their RBST registrations for without it the sheep may as well simply go to
slaughter. The reasons why we register with the RBST.
" A Bad Break ", A story about Inga her broken
leg, what we did and now she is suffering from cabin fever.
of the month Catch up on paperwork, catalog season is
here, restock supplies, watch winter weigh, especially rams.
Resource Guide, RBST, Soay Sheep Society,
Futures" A critical component of any conservation breeding program is
finding the right people who will commit to the breed and to the responsible expansion of
its numbers, engaging young people in that effort is an important component of this. Lesson
of the Day is the story of one science teacher who is doing just that,
hopefully it will inspire others to do the same.
of the month Merge rams back to bachelor flocks, keep
breeding ewes separate from non breeders, trim feet while ground is soft, continue
watching for coughing and runny noses.
Resource Guide Rabies is an
increasing problem around the country and it does effect sheep, some ideas for dealing
with it including some resource articles..
Feature "All that wool, part 2..." Now that the Soay wool is washed, it is ready for picking,
carding, spinning, felting or weaving. Some of the very basics to spark your interest in
all of these crafts with lots of links to get your started and some ideas for what you can
do with Soay wool.
" Soay wool facts", how much, how long, Bradford
count, what ratio fleece to yarn, using ram wool
of the month Cold season is here, watch for coughing,
runny noses, trim hooves, watch weight on older breeding rams
Resource Guide, Spin-off Magazine, Antrim
Hand weaving, wool picking, drop
spindles, carding, spinning and felt artist sites
Feature "All that wool..." While wool
production is not why we raise Soay Sheep, there are lots of things you can do with their
fleece. It can be felted (to which it is especially suited), spun, knitted and
woven. But before you begin it must be cleaned and washed. In the first of a two
part series, here are some basics of working with Soay wool.
"A little magic" British Soay have always brought a
bit of magic to my life, now the have done that for someone else.
Tip of the Month ram proofing water pipes
Calendar of the month November
is all about the rut; selecting breeding groups, putting ewes to rams , dealing
with ram behavior
Visiting a variety of other Soay sheep farms is so educational. You learn
about problems others have to deal with and you get new ideas about how to modify your own
"A Find and A loss" getting
lambs ready for their long trip across the United States to their new homes.
Tip of the Month Marksman for Sheep and lambs a spray paint for sheep
Calendar of the month, Time
to start putting rams to ewes, Deadlines for RBST registrations and the Combined Flock
Guarding Dogs" I
have kept Livestock Protection Dogs for twenty five years and used them both in the big
city and the country for livestock and birds and will never be without one, but they are
not for everyone.
"A Stinging Truth" Poor old Galadriel's allergic reaction
to a bee sting .Regular Features
Tip of the Month re-home an adult working LGD that has lost its farm or flock
Calendar of the month, Breeding
season is around the corner, time to think about breeding groups and where you are going t
o put them, continue barnyard clean up and make repairs around the farm
Feature "Back to the Beginning"
This project has been a decade long treasure hunt, sometimes just little clues are
uncovered and sometimes they are momentous. This time they were momentous. My visit
with Ann and Thomas Knowles of Burstye Farm in West Sussex,
Tip of the Month another use for electrical tape
Calendar of the month, heath
certificates (US) and movement licenses (UK) for
moving sheep. Time to
get hay for winter
Feature "Starter Flocks" with
lambing behind us it is time to think about beginner flocks. Wethers (neutered
males) are ideal for this and not often discussed. Some things to think about and
options for starting out.
"Annual Calendar" A basic yearly Soay sheep
calendar for beginners in both the US and the UK
Tip of the month plant a willow bush on your farm; willow leaves
encourage a sheep that is off its feed to eat.
Your Soay Sheep" Soay sheep have an undeserved reputation for being wild, hard to manage and
not workable with herding dogs. None of the three need to be true.
Tip of the Month You can't have too many gates
Resource Guide, barnyard
plans, Shaul light-weight panels, UK Hurdles
Calendar of the month lambs are due for first injections, watch for coccidiosis
and weight loss in lactating ewes.
Special feature YOUTUBE video of a very
Feature "DIY Sheep
Care, Part 2 " Learning to do rudimentary diagnostic exams yourself is part of being a good
shepherd. A few things to watch for to help you take better care of your sheep.
"The Candy Store Out Back" Just like kids that eat too much candy
sheep can get too much of a good thing and get upset stomachs too.
Tip of the Month collecting fecal samples the clean way
Resource Guide, articles on internal parasites, Probios paste, sharps containers
Calendar of the month lambs are arriving, pick out names, clean up barn yard
eliminating hazards for lambs, make water tanks safe.
Feature "DIY Sheep
Care, Part 1 " Veterinarians who treat farm animals are getting harder and harder to find,
because of this shortage farmers increasingly have to depend on their own rudimentary vet
skills, like giving shots, to care for their animals.
"The Miracle of St. Ana" St. Ana was the very first "British
Soay" in the USA, she was special and we almost lost her too soon
Tip of the Month crowd
sheep tightly in a small pen to handle them
Resource Guide, Some useful veterinary
guides for the sheep farmer
.Calendar of the month time to start getting ready for lambing
Care, Part 2 " When the snow has melted and is replaced with
mud and muck a new set of headaches can
arise, foot scald and respiratory
problems among them.
"A Book Review" Storey's Guide to Raising Miniature Livestock
Tip of the Month an
old metal garbage can filled with water makes a great
bashing toy that rams cannot knock over.
Resource Guide, Dr. Naylor« Hoof n Nail«, on line visual guide for trimming feet,
details for Storey's newest Guide, Hobby Farms magazine,
favorite on line
livestock supply catalogs
for UK Breeders regarding electronic ID tags
Calendar of the month Its catalog season, time to
restock supplies, trim
Feature "Winter Care
" Winter cold and deep snow
bring new challenges
and potential problems in caring for our animals. Acidosis and urinary calculi
can be two that we don't necessarily think of and are
relatively easy to prevent.
"The Perfect Christmas Present" Gamma Seal Lids are not your
typical "mom" Christmas gift but were perfect for this one.
Tip of the Month
turn empty buckets into useful, water tight storage containers
A variety of sources: Landa Weatherbeeta
dog coats, Gamma Seal lid, a safer Heat
US/UK translations :Supplements (US)
= Concentrates (UK) etc.
Calendar of the month
Merge rams back into bachelor flocks in late January,
watch for excessive
fighting, remove visual screens from fences, merge
ewes back together, vaccinate
rams and trim feet, get fecal samples to vet for
Feature "Girl Talk " The fall rut
isn't just a "guy thing", ewe behavior changes too
"Birds, Bees and Lambs" A short story about a late bloomer
Tip of the Month
Keep good records of all dates
Guide Books on conservation breeding strategies
Still time to put rams to ewes, put up visual barriers
between breeding groups,
watch for runny noses/raspy breathing, trim hooves
Bashing" With autumn comes the rut and changes in appearance,
behavior and temperament.
"Certainly, Unabashed and Dashed" How old must a lamb be before
she can get pregnant?
Tip of the Month
Ram lambs can be fertile at four months
Guide Books and on-lines sources
about rams and the rut
put breeding pairs together, RBST birth notification and registrations are
Tales" Two stories about runaway Soay and how they found
their way home
"An Early Lesson" Soay can jump like fleas, I learned the hard way not
to get in their way.
Tip of the Month
Soay love zucchini (Courgettes)
Guide Breeders Assistant Database Software for
managing your flock
weather and short days mean the rut is around the corner start getting
prepared, start planning fall
breeding groups, start preparing for winter..
Feature "Soay Fleece
Management" In spite of literature to the contrary, Soay
sheep are very prone to fly-strike (wool maggots) in areas
where blow flies are
found. Close observation and fleece management are critical
to preventing or
controlling this potentially life threatening problem.
"Sheep in the Mist" A little trick I learned for keeping Soay sheep
comfortable in searing heat.
Tip of the Month
disposable fly traps
Guide Where to find a "Shepherd's Mate"
portable head gate, which
clamps on to a fence or hurdle for restraining sheep (from
the UK, I am still looking
for one in the US), dagging (hand) shears, fact sheet on
parasitic diseases in
sheep including fly-strike
hay for the winter, ship lambs, wean rams lambs from their mothers.
Feature "Summer Lamb Chores" Creep panels (pre- weaning), scrapie ear
tags, ram lamb
castration, shots and worming .
"A slow descent into madness" and I thought I had sent Roy a
placement" Things to think
about when building a small farm; barn
placement, water and air drainage, barn access, water runoff, manure
"The barn and the blues" the beginning of a long career with blue tarps
while I wished for a real barn.
Lambing 101" Get your binoculars ready. Soay ewes
lamb very easily with few problems. The lambing process, what to
where to find information in case there are difficulties, rejected lambs and
what to do with the newborns; ear tags, shots, records, etc.
"Mini and Mighty" Dalton mini-ear tags, used for identifying newborn lambs
2009 One Year Anniversary Issue
Feature "Moving Mountains"
Coccidiosis is a common problem with lambs,
especially bottle babies. Breaking the cycle by hauling
manure away and
a strategic de-worming program for ewes will help reduce the
"Of Trial and Tractors" A pensioner's story about learning to drive a
Feature "What's in a Name" naming
themes for Soay sheep; we borrowed it
from the Canadians, they borrowed it from a British tradition
"An unexpected gift" a special name
for a special lamb
Feature "Barn Pharmacy 101" the
importance of a well stocked barn pharmacy
Medicine Chest" a list of supplies and medicines to start out with
Feature "Merge with Caution" merging
rams after breeding season
"Choosing ones Battles" sometimes one has to be
Feature "The Expected Unexpected"
preparing for emergencies
always happens in the middle of the night" - and I thought I was
Feature "Shipping Soay" How
to get sheep across the country from the
breeder to your farm
"An Early Christmas Story" The lambs arrive
Feature "Soay School Abroad". A
trip to St. Kilda and a photo gallery of Soay
on St. Kilda, Scotland
School", A week-end workshop of hands-on experience working
with Soay sheep.
"Alice's Old Barn"
a "teaching tool" sometimes it pays to "not have the
horns" dispelling some of the myths about horns, how to cut
ram's horns, Soay horns as they age.
"The Hard Way"
a story about a bored ram and a new fence line
Benefits" going into the wool business, rooing (hand plucking)
Soay sheep. from sheep to
"Of Fleece and Friendship"
a very special chocolate brown knit Soay hat
Feature "Coping with
Teenagers" At about three weeks Soay lambs turn into
teenagers, ignoring their mothers and getting
into mischief; broken horns
heads stuck in fences, playtime
Creep Feeders for transitioning lambs from
milk to hay,
when the sun goes down
Feeding Soay Lambs" raising an orphan or supplementing a
mother's milk without taking her lamb
away, how much to feed, how often, what to
watch for: scours, signs of
too little milk, coccidiosis
"Maya's story, My first
Bottle Baby" A lamb rejected by her mother
Feature "Breeding the Older Ewe" - My firsthand experience at breeding an
older Soay ewe,
special care and feeding.
Need" - Can a Soay Sheep grieve? Never underestimate the
bond between a Soay ewe and her lamb.