Aug 2015

Sheepy business

In between all the dyeing, and haggis fettling, we at WooSheeps actually do keep a small flock of sheep. North Ronaldsays to be precise.
North Ronaldsays, are a rare breed from (you guessed it) North Ronaldsay, one of the Orkney Islands. They live on the beach, surviving on a diet of seaweed, whiskey and shipwrecked sailors. The islanders built a wall around the island to keep their drunken antics confined to the shoreline and out of the fields.
They are a hardy 'primitive breed' less prone to dropping dead for no good reason than most sheep. Our wet and windy coastal climate causes them no problems. We collected seaweed from a local beach once, thinking a taste of home would excite them… They wouldn't touch it, having come from Preston, they had never seen seaweed before. There are surprisingly few North Ronaldsays on the Scottish mainland, most live in England. Kept by members of the
RBST and the NRSF.
They are small, nosey, sheep, which makes them easy to handle. We hand shear them, or rather, I hang on to their horns while Sue wields the shears. Their fleece is not bad quality, I have plans for Fifi's dark brown fleece, which may involve my spinning it and Sue knitting me a sweater.
We started off with three ladies, Fifi, Maxine and Morag. We didn't name them ourselves. But they do actually live up to their given names. Each has a distinct personality, with Fifi as boss until Dave the ram arrived.
After proving to ourselves that we could keep three sheep alive for a whole year, we got a ram called Dave.
He is a good natured chap, who traveled back from England in a dog crate in back of the car. He likes to have his chops rubbed, and follows you around the fields, eager to help like any good dog.
Dave performed well, although Fifi took eight weeks longer than her sisters to woo. Although, to be fair she was quite a bit bigger than Dave at the time.
I set up CCTV in the field, and after a good deal of pacing and fretting, we saw Maxine give birth to Humbug, then the next day Morag produced BB.


Below are Maxine at the front and Morag at the back trying to see what is going on, with their lambs Humbug and BB, by their sides.


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This is Rodney Fifi's lamb, instead of eating him, we have had him 'done', so he can live with his sisters and aunties.

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Rodney and his mum Fifi, Fifi is sporting a "Should have gone to Specsavers" haircut.

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This is Dave, Dave is a good looking fella, and knows it.

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