I thought it was time to give you an update on our flock of sheep! You may remember the competition I ran a few months back, inviting you to name the unnamed members of our flock of six sheep. The unnamed mule was christened Yarn (although we still call her lambikins), while the two ouessant ewes are Miss Ewe and Kiss Ewe. I introduced them all to you here.
Our flock has grown! We took delivery of two wethers, which are castrated male sheep, just before Christmas. These guys are also ouessants, and brothers to Miss Ewe and Kiss Ewe. Toby and John were given the task of naming them, and came up with two sets: “Hiphopopotamus” and “Rhyme-enoceros”, or “Rambo” and “Ramsay”. Mum went for the musical names, and Rambo and Ramsay have been reserved for when the flock contains actual rams.
The eight of them now live together peacefully in our two fields. They were separated from each other for a while, mules in one field and ouessants in the other, but we put them together before long as it was a pain in the backside having them in different fields.
We have quite the daily routine – whoever gets up first goes to feed the chickens and guinea fowls, and then to feed the sheep. Strictly speaking, sheep don’t need supplementary food, but with four of the flock potentially pregnant, and a need to control them, we have trained them to follow a yellow bucket. This makes moving them around a little easier, as they’re all so excited by the thought of the food in the bucket that they will follow whoever is holding it quite easily.
They then spend their days in the fields, either above the farm or below it. I prefer it when they are in the field below, as I can see them from my bedroom window and as I walk around the house and garden. Their very busy days involve either grazing, talking to the herd of deer who inhabit the bottom of the field, ruminating in the sun, or more likely huddled beneath the hedges hiding from the rain. In the evening they may get another handful of food, and will occasionally be ushered into the stables if the weather is predicted to be particularly bad.
Spending time with the sheep is pleasant, particularly in the morning just as the sun is rising. The joy of nature, crofting and the passage of time is at the forefront of my mind whenever I do this! They are a friendly lot, and even get on quite well with Chase, who is obsessed with them (as he should be).
We have been on high alert for lambs since Christmas. The four mules used to live with a ram, and we are not sure when to expect little bundles of joy, or even how many. Lambing is a concept I am thinking of with some trepidation, and it seems scary right now. I’m sure once we’ve actually been through it, things will seem a lot easier!
I’ll let you know how we get on – I’m particularly looking forward to shearing!