“The meat from Hebridean sheep is unique. It has a rich, dark colour, succulent tender texture, and a gamey, utterly delicious flavour. Tasted against locally produced butcher’s lamb and some very good Welsh lamb, there was no contest: the Hebridean won hands down. It was tender with a really good bite, and rich but didn’t leave that greasy, fatty taste in the mouth. And it was so full of flavour that some of the young tasters couldn’t believe it really was lamb.”
Alex Barker: Guild of Food Writers
Boreray Sheep have a close geographical and social link with Soay Sheep but the two breeds are genetically different. Boreray Sheep are the descendants of the domestic sheep which were kept by the St. Kildans. When the inhabitants evacuated Hirta, (the main island of St. Kilda), in 1930, all their domestic stock was evacuated with them. Any stock left on the island was killed. But a replacement flock of domestic sheep had been kept on the island of Boreray. These sheep were left there after the evacuation and have lived feral on the island since 1930. In recent years a small group was taken off the island and the descendants of that small group are now registered with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Boreray sheep are classified as “critically endangered” on the RBST Survival Watch list.
The sheep are a unique breed, being descendants of the now extinct Scottish Tan Face with some infusion of Hebridean Blackface. They are a small short-tailed breed which naturally sheds its fleece under normal breeding conditions. Most animals are a creamy white colour with various black, tan or speckled markings on the face and legs and sometimes also on the body and shoulders. A few dark animals occur.
Rare Breeds Pledge
Support the “The Five Freedoms” so you know an animal had a life worth living, and hopefully a good life.
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst: by ready access to water and a diet to maintain health & vigour.
2. Freedom from discomfort: by providing an appropriate environment.
3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease: by prevention or rapid diagnosis & treatment.
4. Freedom to express normal behaviour: by providing sufficient space, proper facilities & appropriate company of the animal’s own kind.
5. Freedom from fear and distress: by ensuring conditions & treatment which avoid mental suffering.
Lambing has been very good this year 170%. The Borerays have done exceptionally well. We had a little trouble with crows attacking the new born lambs with the Hebrideans so we moved them to another field all is now well. We had a couple of new born lambs with clicky feet so we orphaned them off after a few days as did not want to chance the fox getting them. With a little TLC they are all fine. Alan is now their surrogate mother they follow him everywhere.
First job of the year or last as we did it on the 31st was to administer Heptivac – P Plus to the expecting ewes.
Our small Boreray flock
Heptavac-P Plus provides effective pasteurella and clostridial protection for breeding sheep.. A booster dose is required pre-lambing to maintain the ewe’s immunity and to provide high levels of antibodies that can be passed on to her lambs via the colostrum forst milk.
Pasteurella pneumonia is the biggest killer of sheep. Clostridial diseases can also strike without warning. The organisms responsible for these are widespread in the soil. The diseases are invariably fatal and all sheep are at risk, it also helps to prevent development problems in lambs it boost their immune systems.
I managed to stab myself twice, no harm done just a sore finger it may even help my immune system LOL. In two weeks we will drench them for worms and fluke. This is done orally so I hope I will, not miss their mouths.
We have three flocks of sheep Borerays the rarest species of sheep in the UK, Hebrideans and Lleyns.
As stated by RBST
The Boreray is a very hardy breed and will do well on sparse grazing and is able to cope with most conditions. Anecdotal evidence suggests a high level of resistance to foot rot and flystrike. The breed is long lived, with ewes often lambing into their teens. The average lambing percentage of lowland flocks is around 140% (meaning each ewe averages 1.4 lambs a year) however in the feral flocks the average is less. The breed experiences very few lambing problems and lambs are small and lively. The breed can shed its fleece although not all animals do so.
The Boreray’s extreme hardiness makes it a useful breed for some grazing sites where other sheep would struggle. However numbers are very low so this market hasn’t been fully exploited.
The Boreray has an excellent flavour and in common with most primitive breeds is generally slaughtered as hogget or mutton for a bigger carcass. With such a small population there is little evidence of any crossbreeding programmes using Borerays.
Staple length- 10-15 cm. Fleece weight- 1.25kg.
I HAVE MADE THE BIG JUMP. FROM A COSY NHS JOB TO RUNNING OUR FARM WITH ALAN MY HUSBAND FULL TIME. MY LAST DAY WILL BE MONDAY THE 7TH SEPTEMBER HOWEVER MOST OF MY WORK IS NOW FINISHED. I HAVE BIG IDEAS AND A PLAN IN MY HEAD, THE NEXT FEW DAYS I WILL START TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN.
WE BOUGHT THE LAND 10 YEARS AGO AND DREAMED OF LIVING THE GOOD LIFE. ALAN TOOK THE LEAP IN 2011 AND HAS WORKED RELENTLESSLY ON THE FARM. WE HAVE MADE A LOT OF MISTAKES BUT HAVE LEARNT SO MUCH TOO. TEN YEARS ON I WAS STILL A SALARY SLAVE, BUT AFTER THE 7TH NO MORE BOUNDARIES.