A worrying loss

Before you read any further, there are pictures of a dead lamb in this post. You have been warned.

I discovered a dead lamb tonight. Not normally a big deal at all, but I fear that this one may have been the victim of a bird of prey.  I will explain later.

On Tuesday night, I moved some of the sheep and lambs from the croft out to an apportionment we have on the moor.  I walked the sheep the mile out to the apportionment, here they are following me, with my dad behind in the van.  The lamb that died is the blackface on the right-hand side, behind it’s mother.

There is a track up along the back of the village, where we can walk the sheep, minimizing the amount of time they spend on the main road.

This is them in the field.

As I blogged last night, we are taking the peats home just now.  The peat road passes this field, so my dad noticed last night that there was one lamb missing when he counted them.  As I have a broken &  fractured finger, I can’t do anything in the peats, so I went out for a spin to see if I could find the lamb.  Unfortunately, this is what I found.

Normally, I’d say that the lamb had died of natural causes and leave it at that.  BUT, as you can see, the lamb is on the other side of the fence to the rest of the animals.  There is no sign of it having been eaten on the other side of the fence, which makes me think it was carried over the fence before it was killed/eaten.  The only predator big enough for this is a Sea Eagle.  Now, I am not saying an eagle killed this lamb, but it is definitely a possibility.  I took a couple of other pictures too.  A little more gruesome.

The other thing that worries me, is that it’s face was eaten as well.  I don’t think I’ve seen a carcass with it’s face eaten before, crows/gulls usually eat the soft tissue but don’t eat the bone.

After putting the remains in a bag, I found the lamb’s jawbone too!

As a crofter, with a small number of sheep, you get attached to them.  This particular lamb, I had to deliver myself.  This is it with it’s mother a couple of minutes after it was born.

So not quite sure what to do next, might take the remains to the vet, to see if they can make out if it was eagle or not.  One thing for sure, I am taking the sheep and lambs home tomorrow!

 

*EDIT*

I welcome the fact that there are Sea Eagles here.  Magnificent creatures and, if it was a Sea Eagle that killed this lamb, it didn’t do it out of any ‘evil’, it’s just doing what is natural for it to survive.  However, I’d much rather they hunted the numerous rabbits and geese here!

4 Comments

  1. Och a Dhomhnaill, that’s a horrible thing to have happen 😦
    Last year (though not this year, thankfully) we saw ravens actually lifting lambs off the ground – and they weren’t *very* newborn. Thankfully, we saw the incidents – quite a number of them – and were able to chase the ravens :/

    Not nice at all 😦

    • Coinneach Roddy has also suggested ravens. Aonghas Ban showed me how bad they are down in Habost (I understand they’re attracted by the pigs) but we don’t have a problem with them up our way at all. These animals are at least1/2 a mile out on the moor. There has been a big sea eagle around North Dell for the past year or so.

  2. I appreciate the moderate tone you take in attributing ‘blame’ to a sea eagle (or whichever predator). I have no issue with the imagery, as I’ve said before, you’re depicting life on the croft, blood and gore and all. I understand that you would become attached to the wee lamb, as closely involved as you were in its arrival into the world. There is nothing more you can do now – I hope, with you, that the sea eagle will focus its instincts on the rabbits and geese.

  3. Pingback: Back from the vet « Air an Lot

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