death Category

  • A new(ish) helper

    Adventures, Agricultre, Chickens, death, Dog, Lambs, Poultry, Rams, SheepComments (0)

    On March 2, 2014 • By

    I had a busy day on Saturday, but made a little easier by my new assistant. Uisdean here has helped me on the croft sporadically for the last couple of years, but should be more regular for the next few months as he is volunteering with me as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award. Here he is in a typical pose, having helped me drench the hoggs.

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    My brother Martin is now a regular when it comes to Saturday morning chicken chores and he was with us too. He collected the eggs, while Uisdean & I cleaned out the house. It’s a lot dirtier when we’ve had some wet weather. The hens spend more time indoors, pooing inside and dripping water on the floor. Nice.

    After that, we fed the sheep and then went to bury the ram that had died . We had to take him in to the machair to make it easier. Of course I was going to take advantage of having an able assistant – he has to learn how to do these things!

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    (I removed the turf and first spade depth of soil, he did the next)

    The hoggs were next. I didn’t want to have to start making a pen or move them to a new field for penning, so Bud came in handy. Didn’t take a minute to corner them & he held them in place while I drenched them.

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    That was it then, another busy but enjoyable Saturday. Next week will be quiet as we have our first pre-season (football) friendly in Harris against a Uist team. I’ll have to leave home around 9am for 11am kick off and who knows when we’ll be home!

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  • Death of a ram

    death, Rams, SheepComments (0)

    On February 26, 2014 • By

    I’m really gutted tonight. I’m in Skye for some filming tomorrow, and my dad phoned me to say one of my rams had dropped dead :(

    I bought him as a shearling in October 2012 , so he was still a young beast. I checked him on Saturday, and he seemed healthy enough. 3/4 Suffolk, 1/4 Texel was his breeding.

    I hate losing the animals you get attached to, rams in particular. They get special attention because they’re valuable, and they do have their own personalities. Its the loss of a £200 asset as well, but the monetary loss is secondary just now. He was due to be replaced this year anyway, as his daughters will be going to the ram, but still not a nice way to go.

    Here he is in one of my favourite pictures on the croft: a good looking beast.

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  • A look back at 2013

    Agricultre, birth, Cats, Chickens, chicks, death, Dog, Ducks, eggs, Lambs, Peats, Personal Favourites, Poultry, Rams, Sheep, video, WildlifeComments (2)

    On December 31, 2013 • By

    As 2013 draws to an end, I thought I would do that typical thing of looking back at the year.
    It wasn’t the easiest of years on the croft, with many more losses over the last winter and my lamb prices being lower than previous years, but it was still an enjoyable one. It’s been another busy year, with a full time job, playing in goal for Ness F.C., vice-chair of the Social Club and my freelance media commitments.
    I’ve gone through my blog posts and chosen my favourite ones. I have chosen them because I liked them or because I think they are important for one reason or another.
    Thanks for reading!

    My first one is from January and is a video of Bud struggling to come to terms with the laminate flooring in the kitchen.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/01/21/bud-and-the-door/

    In February, I had a Buzzard attack some of my chickens. I haven’t chosen the post about the attack, but I’ve chosen the video I managed to get of the Buzzard returning a couple of days later, enticed by a chicken I had to cull. I think this was the single most viewed post in 2013, with thousands of views on facebook.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/02/26/brilliant-buzzards/
    Easter is my favourite time of year; lambing is usually in full swing and the local football season starts! Love it. Here are a couple of my lambing related posts, including Lasarusina, the lamb that came back from the brink of death (I kept her, she’s a beaut)
    http://airanlot.com/2013/04/28/lamb-pictures/
    http://airanlot.com/2013/04/23/lazarus-lives/

    I also used my incubator for the first time, it wasn’t as successful as I wished, but at least I got some chicks out of it.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/04/14/five-alive/
    May is peat-cutting season, this year a group of us helped a neighbour who wasn’t able to cut his own. A very enjoyable evening for all of us.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/05/20/helping-with-the-peats/
    Now, I fancy myself as a bit of an amateur photographer and was quite chuffed with myself for getting these pictures of a cuckoo – a bird I had never actually seen in the flesh before, despite hearing them all my life.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/05/28/cuckoo-pictures/
    Every now and again, something happens that reminds you how susceptible livestock are. In June, one of my older ewes had her eye removed by a black-backed gull. Don’t look if you’re too squeamish. The sheep is fine, and still with us.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/06/14/horrible-stuff/
    My egg-laying empire took a big step forward this year, with the introduction of my new hen house. I had to assemble it myself and I also got a 60% CCAGS grant for it (which I am still to claim), otherwise it wouldn’t have been viable.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/09/14/complete-hen-house/
    I ended up with an extra cat for a few days in September (can’t believe it was that long ago). She was a stray but has successfully been rehomed, elsewhere in Ness.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/09/29/unexpected-guest/
    One of the most important acts in the crofting year – releasing the rams. This needs no further explanation!
    http://airanlot.com/2013/10/25/rams-let-loose/

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  • Stranded Dolphin

    Agricultre, death, Freelance Pieces, Personal Favourites, videoComments (0)

    On December 26, 2013 • By

    I received a phonecall from the BBC shortly after 12pm, telling me about a stranded dolphin on Traigh Shanndaigh, the beach in Eoropie. Off I went, armed with my camera, to see what the situation was.

    The beach isn’t accessible by vehicle, so we had to walk/run maybe 1/4 mile to get there (my brother Innes was with me).

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    There were a few people about, and one local, Shona Morrison, told me that the vet, SSPCA and British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) had all been informed. The dolphin had more than likely been on the beach since high tide on Wednesday night, maybe 11ish pm. No obvious injuries but it seemed to be exhausted, as you would probably guess.

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    Trevor from BDMLR was first on site and started thinking about how it would get refloated, although decision on the welfare of the animal was to be the vet’s decision. Hector, the vet, wasn’t far off. Experienced in this situation (he mentioned dealing with 7 or 8 Sperm Whale strandings), his first reaction was that the sea was far too rough to consider releasing an exhausted dolphin into the breaking waves. After examining the dolphin, a male White Beaked Dolphin, it was considered to be in poor condition. There was some discussion about moving it to Port of Ness harbour, to release it there, but the stress would probably have been too much for it. The fact that the dolphin was on the high water mark was another indication that it was more than likely sick or injured and that it was washed ashore, rather than stranded. The only option was euthanasia and by the time Hector had returned with the necessary equipment, the dolphin seemed to have given up the ghost and was fading fast – in my opinion.

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    Sad end to a lovely animal. First time I’ve been as close to a live one.

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    Here is a video of what happened.

    [wpvideo 6rwrL3u3]

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