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North Ronaldsay

The most northerly of the Orkney islands is North Ronaldsay where this small and endearing sheep is found and from where it gets its name. To provide a barrier between the cultivated land of the crofts and the sea-shore, a high stone wall was built – the sheep were kept on the shore side and adapted to a diet completely of seaweed!

A North Ronaldsay lamb in spring time

A North Ronaldsay lamb in spring time

Because of the way the “Ronnie” has evolved, when removed to the mainland careful consideration must be paid to its feed – it is more susceptible to copper poisoning than other sheep breeds.

A North Ronaldsay Ram with beautiful curly horns

A North Ronaldsay Ram with beautiful curly horns

A very small sheep, fine boned and a short tail.

The fleece is usually grey or white but can be black, brown or mixed. The coloured fleeces are rather coarse in nature but the white and tan is fine and is used for woollens and the variety in colour makes the fleeces popular with spinners.

The rams are always horned and have a coarse hairy mane that runs down the underneck and chest. Ewes may either be horned or more usually polled (hornless).