Saturday, 23 February 2019

Scanning the ewes

We had friends staying last night so this morning we all walked down to the Boathouse before a bowl of soup lunch.  It was magical to see a female Hen harrier flying low along the raised beach. I enjoyed hearing the call of a pair of Oystercatchers, as they flew along the waterline.     We didn't see any Otters this time.

It was one of those murky days, we could barely see the Isle of Coll, but there were beautiful colours underfoot in the mosses and lichens.

Farmer gathered the ewes in this week, in order to be ready for the arrival of Dan the Scanner who had messaged us all on Facebook with a tight timetable of where he was aiming to be and at what time.  Incredibly he is always on time!  This morning he started in the Ross of Mull, at Fidden Farm at 7.30 am and by the time he got here he had scanned 1700 ewes.  He did another 585 here before heading off to Croig to do the last lot before dark.  It was 4pm when he arrived here!

This is the time of year when Farmer can stop worrying whether or not the tups were 'working' or not, whether or not they were fertile.  From our scanning results, we know that they were all working and that lots of lambs are expected.  Typically the highest scanning percentage was from Daughter's Herdwicks! (I wonder if that has got anything to do with their fondness for the feed bag!)  We can look forward to lots of those gorgeous black lambs in the spring.

Now we will sort the in-by ewes into different lots.  The Cheviots carrying twins will need a bit more supplementary feed than the ones carrying singles.   The ewes who are 'empty' (not in lamb) will be sold.   We will also sell some of the Cheviots carrying singles as we are able to sign a new environmental contract which is going to restrict our sheep numbers on the herb rich fields.   

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