The Boreray is one of the most endangered breeds of sheep in the UK. The breed originated on the Isle of Boraray in the Outer Hebrides Scotland. It is believed there are only 300 of the breed left.
March 2015, twelve of the breed arrived at Roundoak farm Sutton Valence. Norman and Ruth Coles who farm Roundoak travelled to the West Country to pick up the animals from a farm in Devon where the farmer who had the sheep was retiring.
Roundoak is home to a number of other rare breeds such as North Ronaldsays and in excess of 500 Hebrideans, as well as 130 Highland cows. The farm have developed a unique brand commercially selling the sheep for breeding and meat. Many local and specialist butchers now buy from the farm as do many individuals. The farm has its own website www.roundoak-hebridean.co.uk or www.roundoak-highland.co.uk and a regular newsletter which is sent to ‘Friends of Roundoak’
Commercially breeding and the sale of the meat, is the only way to protect these species. These are much more slow growing animals than conventional cross breeds, taking up to twice as long to reach maturity. As a result the meat is superb in taste and low in fat, an important factor in modern day living.
The Roundoak animals are also a familiar site in central Kent as the other quality these animals have is for Conservation grazing. The farm animals graze many sites for organisations such as Kent Wildlife Trust, Kent County Council, Ashford Borough Council, Medway valley conservation trust and Loose valley amenities trust to name but a few.
The Roundoak Boreray flock continues to grow slowly, we find the Borerays a very timid breed, producing very small and vulnerable lambs. The farm has not had great success breeding the Borerays and has lost many lambs. We can therefore understand why the breed is seriously endangered. The farm, in line with it's policy will continue its efforts to to grow and protect this flock.
Roundoak welcomes visitors, by appointment to the farm, to see the many different rare breeds.