Welcome to Old Line Soays

Welcome to Old Line Soays. We are located in Hagerstown Maryland, just a short distance from the battlefields of Antietam. Our commitment to British Soay sheep began in 2003 and we have become increasingly involved in preserving this historic US “flock” of sheep ever since. We have recently added new animals from the west coast including genetics recently introduced from the UK though artificial insemination.

Soay sheep are the oldest surviving British breed of livestock and are a remnant of an ancient semi-domestic sheep that populated northern Europe in prehistoric times. Because of a single isolated population on a tiny sea-girt island off the coast of Scotland, they have remained unchanged (by man) since Neolithic times and have survived into the 21st century as a living archive. Since the late 19th century animals have been removed to the mainland of the UK but they are still found living feral on St. Kilda. British Soay, (which should not be confused with the American Soay which is an American hybrid) are the descendents of six animals that were exported from England to Canada in 1990. Between 1998 and 2000 the surviving flock was then imported into the United States. All British Soay are registered with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in Britain and would be recognized as true Soay if they were returned to the UK.

These are naturally small sheep with ewes weighing between 45-60 pounds, rams about 80. They thrive on marginal pastures and are widely used in the UK for conservation grazing; reclaiming overgrown land without the use of chemicals or bulldozers. In our case they maintain bolder strewn pastures that horses and cattle cannot and keep blackberries under control. They are “easy keepers”, resistant to foot rot, with naturally short tails and shed their wool in the spring. They are ideal for small farms and beginning shepherds because of their relative hardiness and good health. British Soay are either brown or tan with white rump patch, white belly and occasional white markings. Presently all ewes are horned, however with new British genetics we are hopeful that polled and scurred (small misshapen horns) animals which are typical in the wild flocks will begin to appear in the US. Rams are horned with tight to wide curls and scurred, none are polled.

All of our sheep are registered with the Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST) in Great Britain and are enrolled in the U.S. Voluntary Scrapie Program. We belong to the Soay Sheep Society, are members of the RBST and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

We offer breeding stock, as well as Soay wool for sale. Please feel free to contact us for additional information.

Laura Lane-Unsworth 
Old Line Soays
Hagerstown, Maryland 

We love sharing our knowledge of Soay Sheep with interested breeders and beginners. As you can imagine between full time jobs and full time farming we keep pretty busy, but we make every effort to return emails promptly. If you are interested in purchasing lambs or wool, or have any questions at all just e-mail us! If we don't have what you are looking for we probably know someone that does, and if we don't have the answer - we'll find someone who does. 

Thank you for visiting our site. 

Laura Lane-Unsworth 
Old Line Soays Hagerstown, Maryland