Country Side Daily

Jim and Lynn Moody, owners of Blue Oak Canyon Ranch located near San Miguel, California, have been breeding Santa Cruz Island sheep for eight years. They chose the rare sheep breed to help preserve the breed’s heritage and unique story.

The sheep are named after one of the Channel Islands off the coast of California. Sheep lived on the island for between 70 and 200 years. When some sheep escaped, they went unmanaged for some time and the Santa Cruz sheep breed evolved into an exceptionally hardy breed, with virtually no birthing problems, a high survival rate, and an ability to thrive on marginal forage.



One Woman’s Quest to Document America’s Sheep

Lancaster Farming Newspaper 2019

For a little more than a year, Gunn has been traveling the United States and Canada to document the sheep breeds developed in those countries.

During her tour, which she calls The Great Sheep Expedition, Gunn estimates she has journeyed at least 60,000 miles by car, airplane, helicopter and boat.

Gunn spoke about her experiences recently by phone from a coffee shop near Astoria, Oregon, where she had gone to see Polled Dorset sheep, her last breed for the North American leg of the tour.



Sheep Breeder Preserving Rare, Once-Feral Breed

Lancaster Farming Newspaper 2017

LEWISBERRY, Pa. — You’ve never seen sheep quite like Mike Kearney’s. Small, fleet-footed and hardy, they are just a little more wily than a Dorset, Southdown or Hampshire. And with good reason. Only 30 years ago, the forebears of many of Kearney’s sheep roamed freely on an island off the southern California coast.

In the past year and a half, Kearney has become one of only about 10 breeders in the country who are working to redomesticate the Santa Cruz breed of sheep. Kearney, a partner in a real estate development and consulting company, started farming several years ago, inspired by a friend who was producing much of his own food.