Wisconsin State Fair *
August 1- 11, 2013
Wisconsin State Fair Park
640 S. 84th Street, West Allis, WI
Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival*
September 6-8, 2013
Jefferson Fair Park
503 N. Jackson Street
Jefferson, WI 53549
Midwest British Soay Breeders*
Fourth Annual Gathering
Sunday, September 29, 2013
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Southern Oregon Soay Sheep Farms
for information and RSVP e-mail Kathie Miller
The 2012 British Soay Sheep Gathering will be on September 15th at the farm of Nancy Gaedke. Nancy's farm is located at 8761 Hidden Valley Rd. Cross Plains, WI 53528
British Soay Breeders and Enthusiasts are welcome to attend to learn about sheep management, Soay Sheep conservation, trade stock and network with like minded Soay enthusiasts. From past experience, the day is enjoyed by all. Email me if you would like more information or plan to attend. firstname.lastname@example.org
Narnia Farm Soay Sheep go to the Wisconsin State Fair!
We were invited to bring our Soay to the WI State Fair this year. We took
a dark ewe and her tan lamb so we could show the different colors. There were many people at the Fair that had never seen or heard of Soay before. It was great to be able to educate so many people about this ancient breed.
Originally, we had agreed to keep the sheep at the Fair for 4 days. They were such a 'hit' that the organizers asked us to extend their stay for an additional 3 days.
4H Club comes to Narnia Farm
On May 7th, a group of 4H youth and parents came to see our sheep and learn about the history of Soay.
I used several simplified picto-graphs based on diagrams in Ryler's book 'Sheep and Man' showing the evolution of British breeds of sheep and the development of fiber. We talked about the genetic diversity in British Soay sheep and the importance of conserving the breed. The youth were able to compare Soay fiber with the fiber from some modern breeds.
The highlight of the visit, was watching the lambs jump and run about in the pasture.
I talked with them about how easy it is to take care of Soay - especially if you've never had sheep before. The parents were amazed at how easy it is to care for Soay compared to other breeds: no dipping the hooves because Soay don't suffer from hove rot; no cropping the lamb tails because Soay's tails are naturally short; and best of all, no shearing! In groups of twos, the youth were invited to come into the sheep pen and were shown how to roo the sheep. The youth were amazed at how easy the wool came off.
Although Soay do have lanolin in their wool, it is not as much as some modern breeds. I was told by one of the participants that lanolin on a modern breed can be as thick as tar in spots. Sounds pretty sticky to me!
The youth participated in making felted bars of soap from the Soay wool which they took home with them as a souvenoir of the day. I heard from a parent afterwards that the youth talked about their visit to our farm all the way home. I guess we were a hit!
It is important to promote heritage breeds with youth in order to spark their interest in conservation but also to encourage youth to pursue careers in argiculture and animal sciences.
We welcome youth groups to come and learn about our ancient breed of sheep. If you are interested in bringing a youth club to our farm, please contact us as email@example.com
Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival
Sept 9-11, 2011
Jefferson County Fair Park
503 N. Jackson St.
Jefferson, WI 53549
2nd Annual Midwest Soay Sheep Breeders Gathering
Sept 24, 2011
Rocky Mountain Soay Sheep,
For info contact Heather McLaren at : firstname.lastname@example.org
An ancient blessing for an ancient breed of sheep
Although most people often associate St Francis of Assisi with the Blessing of the Animals—the practice of blessing animals has been around much longer. Evidence suggests that blessing animals was carried out in Rome and may date back further than that.
Animal blessings are found throughout the world. Every fall the farmers in the Alps herd the cows in the high mountains and bring them down to the valley for the winter where they are blessed and the lead cow decorated.
Recently a hospital Chaplain read the article in our local newspaper about our British Soay sheep and the recent Midwest Soay Sheep Gathering that we hosted. He was fascinated by our sheep and phoned inviting us to bring one of our sheep to the Blessing of the Animals ceremony in town.
I was reluctant to agree to this because Soays are timid animals and lots of people and other animals might cause too much stress. I had never taken one of our sheep out in public before so I had no idea how one would react.
The Chaplain said he would provide a dog cage that our lamb could remain in during the ceremony. He assured us that the ceremony only took a few minutes and we could leave right afterwards. The Chaplain spoke to the Board of directors, who were all very excited about one of our sheep being part of this event.
So reluctantly I agreed to bring a lamb to the event. I was not convinced that our sheep would be able to cope with all the unfamiliar sights and sounds.
The Chaplain let us borrow his dog cage – which was only big enough for one of our ram lambs- I was hoping it would fit two of them, as they would be less stressful with a buddy.
However since we could only take one, Amedda was selected to go because he was the one we caught first. Luck of the draw.
The Hospital printed up Flyers announcing the event and programs for the event- all with photos of Soay sheep. I didn’t know what to expect at the event– having never been to a Blessing of the Animals ceremony before.
The event took place in the park right outside the hospital. The weather cooperated and people came with their pets (mostly dogs) to be blessed.
Amedda, our ram lamb was the first to be blessed. I was amazed at how calm Amedda was around people he did not know, and other animals. He raised his head up and allowed the Chaplain to touch him. Amedda didn’t seem to mind all the dogs that showed up to be blessed. He even ‘baaed’ at one dog that kept barking just as the owner was taking the dog home. Someone remarked ‘The sheep had the last word’.
A yellow dog came up to Amedda’s cage and licked him on the nose! A kiss or maybe a tasting? Either way, it was a surprise to me how calm our Soay lamb was amongst all the animals and people.
I have been asked about bringing our sheep to local festivals so people can see them and learn more about them. Now that I see how calm Amedda was, I think I might try that next year.