Wild sheep from the Middle East were domesticated 10,000 years ago and brought into Europe, reaching Britain about 4,000 BC. From these ancestors came all the varieties of modern breeds.
We have been working with some of these ancestors for several years now, looking into how we first domesticated and handled them – sometimes challenging!
While we build up our little flock of the very rare mouflon, we work a flock of soays on the project. The soay is the most primitive of our native sheep in Britain. They have probably changed little since the bronze age 3,5000 years ago and have been living mainly as feral populations on some of the Western Scottish islands until recently. They are difficult to work with dogs – but fortunately easily enticed with food!