Day off and vet visit

As Bud would say: woof! I am tired.

Took the day off work as the vet was coming to see to the sheeps eyes again. It’s been lingering amongst the sheep for around 2 months now but looks like its under control now.

Tony, the vet, was due around 2pm but I got a phonecall at 9am saying he’d got a call out in Ness so he’d be at mine earlier, around 11am. First job them was to get the sheep gathered (after I’d moved and fed the pigs, chicks and hens)

I had a keen assistant with me today.



The sheep are spilt into 4 smaller flocks, one with each ram, so I penned them separately as well, because they’ll stay with the rams for a few more weeks. (The upturned ground on the right is where the pigs were rooting after escaping on Wednesday!)


The vet, Tony, came just after 11 and we got cracking after yarning for a wee while. This is Tony’s third visit in regards to the sheep eye problems. Fortunately this have gone better than they did the first time. The advantage if having the same vet is we know what has to be done and I didn’t have to explain the story again!



Pictures aren’t as clear today because it was a wet day and it was only the two of us so photos not a priority! I was holding the sheep while Tony injected their eyes. There were 3 sheep with eye problems today, here is one of them. You can see her eye is cloudy – their is a wee bit of blood that leaked out after the injection in her eyelid.


The three sheep still having problems have been removed from their respective flocks and I’m keeping them next to my house. They were with 2 separate rams and one of the flocks was totally clear of infection, so it’s taking a while to clear. Tony thinks some of them were harbouring the infection and there wasn’t much more I could do. Every single sheep has been checked now so hopefully there will be no more difficulties once these three are clear – and that should be by Monday.

I took the opportunity today to swap the rams as well. This is just to make sure that, even though the rams are servicing the sheep, they aren’t firing blanks! I swapped the Suffolk and the Big Fellow (Cheviot) and the small cheviot and the blackface. Here is the small cheviot meeting some new ladies.


The sheep were all then moved onto fresh grass and I took the chance to bring feeding troughs to all of them too, since I had the time today.

Transporting a trough in style.


One of my neighbours asked me to put some sheep on his croft that hasn’t been grazed much this year, so I jumped at that chance.


And I gave all the sheep a wee treat of some feed!


After all that, I unloaded 200kgs of pig feed into the barn, before putting the pigs in their pen for the night and then had a long hot shower!

Tomorrow, I’m taking it easy but have to move half a ton of sheep feed. I feel my bones aching already.


Eye problem still lingering

Regular readers will be aware that I’ve had a lingering eye infection problem over the past few weeks. Well, it’s still there. Checked the sheep early this morning and discovered a sheep with it’s eye basically useless. No chance of recovery. The other eye is fine though.


I checked the rest (again) and found one other sheep with signs of infection starting in one eye. It’s really frustrating! There isn’t much more I can do, the flock that I found the infection in today were clear and had no infected sheep amongst them, so it’s obviously been lingering a while.

Spoke to the vet and he’s going to come over again on Friday. I’m taking the day off work and I’m going to remove every and any sheep with sign of infection and take her nearer to home. Bad time of year for it to happen too, they have to be out with the ram if I’m going to have lambs in the spring!

Here is a snap of me having given the sheep a bale of hay.


Feeding lambs

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I have started feeding some lambs for the winter.

They were penned last night beside the house, so it was just a case of feeding them again this morning and letting them loose.

First sight of the lambs this morning


This is the feed I’m giving them just now. Not the usual stuff, just some I bought in the local shop because I didn’t have any ‘proper’ stuff in.


The lambs soon worked their way over to the trough and got stuck in. Result.



I’m training them to respond to my voice as well; “trobhad” being the call to come for food. We’ll see if they come tomorrow, when I feed them early doors. This should make things easier in the long run.

Saturday – 2nd half!

I posted earlier about the first half of my Saturday – the second half was even busier! I am absolutely shattered now but agreed to be bingo caller in the Social Club tonight so no chance to relax.

First up in the afternoon was taking some of the lambs out to the village park. Each crofting village has common grazing, communal area for animals. Most villages have an area on the moor, while some in Ness also have a machair area. Our village has machair land but no common grazing, so out to the moor side for them.

Between lambs I kept and bought, there are 17. 10 or 11 of these will be breeding stock, while the rest are for the freezer. I kept one as a ram lamb but already sold him.

Of the 17, I put 11 out to the park. The other 6 are the small ones that are freezer-bound this time next year. They are very small though and I’m not sure they’d survive the winter out in the park so they get to stay closer to home and get some extra feed.

Here are some of the lambs that went out.




And here they are coming out of the trailer at the fank and heading out into the park.

The lambs staying at home have been started on feed as of today. They are penned beside my house for the night, with feed in the trough. I’ll feed them again in the morning and them out. Hopefully, they’ll get used to it quite quickly. This will be handy for when the other 11 come home too, as they should follow these ones to the trough.

I then did some power washing around the house, and cleaned the hen houses with the power washer too. I really need to get my finger out and get a bigger hen house built. Fed up of 2/3 smaller ones that aren’t sturdy enough! One of them had the hatch for the neat box blown off in Thursday’s gale (was around 84mph in Ness), so I had to fix that as well!

Think that was it for the day, just had to move the pigs back up to their original pen (and bed) and take enough peats in for the weekend. I’m fit to drop!

Saturday – first half!

It’s currently 11.30am and I’m sitting down to have my breakfast – mainly because I forgot! Got a lot of work to do today but I thought I had to share what I’ve done so far!

The chicks have been outside for 2 weeks now, so I decided to extend their run a wee bit this morning. Didn’t take me too long and you can see from this picture, how bare the ground on the right had become.


I sold 4 of the chicks this morning, these are the first ones to go. I started off with 24 but 3 died in the first month or so. Since being outside, I found one of them dead inside the henhouse, taking me down to 20. When I went out yesterday morning, I could only find 19, so there was obviously another one gone and when I had a proper look this morning, this was all I found of it. The only thing I can think of is if it flew up and got stuck in the netting above them and then crows/gulls took it. The leg was found inside the run, with the rest of the chicks.


On a cheerier note, before I move onto the pigs, I’d better show sone pics of the other chicks!

What you lookin’ at?



This one has a bad hair day.

The pigs are off to slaughter in 2 weeks, so they are pretty big now, almost ready for the chop. I have to admit that it is a bit of a chore feeding them in the dark before work every day, but I’ll still be sad to see them go. The sausages will be appropriate compensation!

Due to the recent wet weather, their pen has become very wet, so I’ve been moving them down to my main pigpen during the days, before they are taken back up to their current pen, where their bed is.

I move them most mornings, when it’s quite dark and I’m usually in a rush but I decided today to film them as i find it quite entertaining! I stopped before they got into the pen because one of them had smelt food somewhere else and done a runner! I caught her before she got too far.

Anyway, I’m off to do some work, lambs to move, sheep to check and henhouses to repair. Enjoy the video!

Feeding in the dark!

Man, it is a miserable morning out there!

Got up today around 6.45 but took me a wee while to get myself ready for going outside – psyched myself up first then put on the survival suit!


It was pitch black when I went out, around 7am. My usual routine is feed the pigs first, then the hens and chicks. Bud comes with me every morning – you should see how excited the wee fellow is every time I put my wellies on!

Today, did the pigs as usual but I found it darker than normal. I usually feed them nearer 8 but since I had extra to do, they were earlier this morning. Don’t think they fancied getting out of their warm bed at that time but funny how powerful an influence food is!

Next I walked out the croft to leave Bud with my mother for the day, and I picked up some crystalix mineral licks for the sheep that we got on Friday but I forgot to put them out on Saturday!


The sheep go wild for this stuff. I fought off the temptation to use my pickup to take it in to the sheep (as I was soaking and filthy) so the tractor got fired up instead


As you can see, it was still pretty dark at that time.



A quick spin in the croft – the sheep are in the furthest sections away of the crofts, about 1/2 or 3/4 of a mile away – and I was greeted by sheep hiding behind the shelter myself and Innes put up 2 years ago. They need it on a morning like today.

As soon as they realised I had food, they came flying over. They love it! The only problem for them is they have to lick it – even though they’d love to bite off a big chunk!


They’re always a bit ott with the stuff at first and it can lead to some bullying but they settle down quite quickly. I gave licks to 3 of the 4 flocks this morning. I’m leaving the blackfaces as I think they’re ok without.

Took the tractor out to my parents house after that, it’s going into the barn for the winter – and hopefully some TLC!

Walked home, fed the chicks and hens, now I have to contemplate a shower an going to work! The joys!

Why do I do all this, you may ask? Because I love it. Real sense of satisfaction – even on days like this!