Burst eye update


I posted last week about my sheep with the burst eye I had to catch her again on Thursday to check the eye and give her another dose of the antibiotics that she is on.


The eye is healing and is not too bad at all. It is not bothering the sheep and she is as bright & lively as she could be. Here is how the eye looks now.



As I said, the eye is healing. What happens when something heals? Yes, it itches. The sheep keeps rubbing the eye on things to relieve the itch. The small flecks in and around the eye are pieces of wood from fence posts she was scratching herself with. Ideally, the eye would be removed but it is more dangerous to the sheep to put her through that ordeal. She’ll be fine but I’ll check her again next week and give it another squirt of anti-septic spray.

A couple of losses

There are some pictures of dead animals in this post.

Firstly on Friday night I came across a poorly lamb on the croft. It was the wee one that didn’t get sent away to the sales. It was lethargic all day Friday but went downhill quickly in the evening. I had moved them on Wednesday morning and hadn’t noticed anything wrong with it. I gave it an injection and took it into the barn but it seemed to die as soon as I lifted it up. Poor thing didn’t really stand a chance, given how short its lower jaw was.


So Saturday I had to load the lamb into the tractor and head in to the end of the croft


Not the worst venue for a final resting place.


The other loss was slightly messier. The 2nd batch of chicks that were born 2 weeks ago have a very aggressive mother and unfortunately it appears that she attacked one of the chicks.


I found this poor wee fellow on the floor. It was still alive but too far gone so I had to put it out of its misery. Not something I like doing but it wasn’t coming back.

Not sure how common it is for hens to attack chicks but there’s no other explanation! The two hens and chicks are kept in separate parts of the barn so no cross over. Anyway, the other 23 are doing well.

Butt of Lewis Lighthouse

I had the chance to go up the lighthouse in Ness for the first time ever – something I have been desperate to do for years! The lighthouse was built in 1862 so it is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. I was there today filming a piece marking this for Gaelic news, which should be broadcast before an event in Ness on 20th October. You can get more info on that event from the Islands Book Trust or Comunn Eachdraidh Nis. More pictures are available on my Flickr site.



More new hens

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, but haven’t got round to it – and someone keeps hassling me to see it!

I added 4 new hens to my flock 2 weeks ago, the poor chooks had to escape Harris an make the long journey from Leverburgh to Ness.

Here they are in a cage in the back of a pickup



They belonged to Catriona Maclean, who I uses to work with at the BBC. Here is Catriona with one of the hens


The hens were surplus to requirements, as they’re getting new chicks in a week or two, and I have plenty space for them.

Here they are being greeted by their new friends – they’re well settled now!


Full freezer

Today, I took home the wedders/muilt that went to the abattoir last week.







I bought lots of pig and chicken feed as well, so when I came home, I dropped the carcasses off at my parents house and took the feed in to mine.


By the time I’d finished unloading the van and feeding the animals, my parents had put 2 or 3 of them in the freezer already.






The carcasses are butchered in the slaughterhouse. It’s not that long ago we used to butcher them ourselves in the barn. By butcher, I mean chop up, not kill the animals. Here is the cleaver and knife that we use for that, with my size 12s for scale


So the freezers are full and one happy fellow is going to be Bud, who is going to be fed on off-cuts for a while!




So batch one of chicks is 3 weeks old. I had them outside in a wee rabbit run yesterday, the first time I was able to take them out.


One of the wee black ones makes me laugh – always getting a piggy-back from mum!


Batch number 2 are coming on nicely, starting to explore the part of the barn that’s here home for the time being





The first batch are growing so quick and starting to develop feathers already


Still a few weeks of them being cute though!


Well, that’s the dipping done for another year – and what a day for it! I had to take a picture out the front of the house first thing, it was so nice!


I took the rams out first and then we all gathered the lambs that were in the park. I’m posting a picture of the dipping crew first, even though it was taken when we finished.


(l-r) my dad, Uisdean, Donnie, Tormod Dhonnchaidh, me, Chops and Neil. (and Clyde, can’t forget him)

First of all, we suited up and my first job was to put the dip into the amar (I have no idea what english word to use for the ‘bath’).



There are only about 150 animals in the village, so we flew through them quite quickly, around 2 hours.


The sheep are put in backwards, dunked under and then swim out the other end. The dip kills external parasites and sheep scab.


Here are a few action pics




So after that, all that was left to do was take the lambs home. My dad went fishing (and caught the fish below)


So it was left to Uisdean to help me!


So that’s it over for another year!

Burst eye – unpleasant but doesn’t look too bad!

While we were getting ready to dip the sheep, we noticed that one of the gimmers had a problem with her eye – it looked like it had burst! As you may know, I’m not really squeamish when it comes to animals, but I draw the line with eyes! Something about them that freak me out when something goes wrong. Anyway, we dipped the sheep but didn’t dunk her head under like we do with the rest. We penned her with 2-3 others just so she’d be easy to catch later and I phoned the vet. Here is the sheep as she was first


As you can see, it’s pretty intense! The vet couldn’t come until after 5 so we had to wait. When he came, he said that the eye was actually in the process of healing and that it had indeed burst. As soon as we had her, he held up the cornea, that had been hanging loose. He cleaned the eye up as best he could and gave her anti-biotics. I have to give her a second jab on Thursday. This is how we left her. The blue spray is anti-septic stuff the vet applied.


Not sure what caused it, possibly a bit of fence or something. We had them gathered last Saturday and didn’t notice anything when drenching her but the Hector, the vet, said that it would only have been a slight bulge then so wouldn’t be really noticeable. The sheep is fine, behind my parents house and will be ok to go to the ram at the end of next month.