Woodland Creek Soay Rams

Woodland Creek Soay Rams
Soay Sheep Ram Assortment

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rare Soay sheep photo

In all my internet browsing for Soay sheep images, I have never seen this. In one photo (I swear - not manipulated!) all four Soay sheep coat patterns (overlooking for now white spotting). I realized that in my yearling ram pasture I had all four patterns, and what's more, they lined up nicely for a photograph.
Voila: All four coat color phases in Soay Sheep

(click on photo to enlarge)
From left to right: dark-wild, dark-self, light-wild, and then the very rare light-self. (Yes, there are two more dark-self rams in the back of the row - ruined the perfect photo).
Note that the second and third both also have white spotting - another breeding goal I have is to add extensive white spotting to these more rare genotypes.
And to Soay purists, I will acknowledge that the two with white spotting are not the best conformation ever seen. That's a problem with rare genotypes--one tends to keep them all to retain the genetics even if the conformations are not great. But succeeding generations should be able to recover the conformation.

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