I had a chat with another crofter tonight, which has reinvigorated me in terms of my flock of sheep.

I’ve had such a disastrous winter with them: I’m basically going to have to start again this autumn. The Big Fellow died on Saturday, but this was to be his last year anyway. I’d spoken to DJ Murray about getting a tup lamb off him this year, as he got a particularly good ram last year. We had a chat about this towards the end of last year, and he phoned me about this earlier today. He was choosing which tups to keep for himself, and is keeping an extra one for me.

You may remember I got some hay off him last year. Here is the pic I took that day, with his dogs Nell & Moy.


We had a good chat too, about sheep in general. I feel I have a slightly better idea in my head of what I want to do. A good (Cheviot) tup is the first step, now to add to the female side of the flock.

I still have to get this year’s lambing out of the way first. Still 3 to go!

3 Surprise Losses

As many of you will be aware, this has been a disastrous winter for me. I can’t believe how many sheep I’ve lost and I thought that it was over. I was wrong.

I was playing football on Friday night and came home some time after 10. I went out to my parent’s house and my father told me that someone had found one of my ’empty’ sheep dead in the village park. Empty meaning she had been scanned as having no lamb. I wish he hadn’t told me so late in the evening, I couldn’t sleep after hearing that.

I went out on Saturday morning to collect her, and take the carcass in to the machair to bury. It’s much easier to bury a sheep in the sandy machair land, rather than anywhere else.

She was a Blackface. Not old, not young. No idea what caused it.


Shortly after finishing burying that sheep. I got another phonecall. One that I was dreading. The Big Fellow, my biggest ram, the best one I’ve ever had and a big, friendly beast, was found dead in the village park. This was due to be his final year, as he was getting old, but I was gutted that he went out this was. Such a great beast. I’m not going to post a picture of him now, but this one of him from a couple of years ago. He would walk up to the door of the house and eat food out of my hands. He will be missed.


The other loss was a hen. She was found dead in the shed. Not too disappointed as she was an older one that wasn’t laying any more.


Phew! It’s been a busy few days. I’ve reached the stage now where I’m looking forward to lambing ending so I can get some sleep! One sheep to go is as much hassle as ten – or a hundred!

Another lambed tonight, meaning that only four are left to go. It would be great if they all arrived before the weekend, so that I can get some rest. I have a Ness game tomorrow and on Friday, so I’m basically split between work, lambs and football until Saturday morning.


Tonight’s lamb had a bit of blood round the back-end. I haven’t looked too closely but sometimes their mothers chew the end of the tail when they lick them clean.


I fed the twins when I got home tonight. They’re out at my parents’ house, my parents weren’t in, so I took them into the kitchen to feed them. Much more civilised. Here is a wee audioboo of the lambs sounding like Irish dancers on the kitchen floor.


And finally Lazarus (or Lazarusina, given he’s a she). From the brink of death to bright and healthy in 24 hours. What a difference some warmth and some food makes. Quite the adventure. I’m going to try and take her mother out with her tomorrow, hopefully she’ll still accept her. She’s still not strong enough to go back out tonight, so she’ll be inside once again.


Touch & go

On Sunday, I lost a lamb who had been suffering from suspected hypothermia but was also suspected to have an infection by the vet. Yesterday, I went in to feed the older lambs after work, and the same thing happened again. This time there was no infection, just exposure. The lamb was born on Thursday and took a wee while before it got a drink. I moved it in with the other sheep on Saturday, and checked it on Sunday. to make sure it was ok. Unfortunately it wasn’t on Monday. I took it out to my parent’s kitchen, where it spent several hours next to the stove and then the heat lamp, to try and warm up.


Here is the lamb shortly after birth. A beautiful Suffolk/Cheviot ewe lamb.


It appears to have made it through the night, which is a major step forward.

A loss

I lost a lamb tonight that was a week-ten days old. I went in to feed the sheep that lambed first and this lamb was flat out on the ground.

I took it home and got it in front of the fire asap. I warmed up some milk and tried to get it to take some but it was very very weak.


I phoned the on-call vet. She was in Carloway, about 25 minutes away, so I said I’d meet her half way, in Barvas, to save time.


I wrapped up the lamb in my jacket and hit the road.

The vet thought it had an infection of some type but that it was also suffering from hypothermia. She gave it several injections and I took it back home to the fire. Unfortunately it died about an hour later.

I think this is the lamb, the night it was born.


And that leaves a mother without a lamb.


I’m pretty gutted. You always lose some after they’re born, but still left with “what if”. Anyway, 6 left to lamb.