The term 'flying flock' was coined to describe the use of a small peripatetic herd of sheep that are used as a nature conservation tool. They are 'flown in' for a few weeks to graze a site, then moved on to the next site. Most European nature reserves with natural grassland need to maintain it by mimicking old fashioned farming techniques. To retain the desired balance of grass and wildflowers the best solution is for the area to be lightly stocked and grazed at key times of the year. The only other way to maintain sites like this is to mow them for hay.
Solognotes are one of the oldest and rarest breeds of sheep in France, originating in Berry and the Loire Valley. They are adapted to damp, poor pastures and are traditionally farmed very extensively (ie very low stocking rate). They became important in Renaissance times as wool producers and were fattened to eat. Numbers peaked in the first half of the 19th century, but by the second half of that same century they were threatened by the rise of large scale drainage programmes and commercial hunting activities in their Sologne heartland (situated between the Loire and Cher rivers).