Rams Category

  • Boys lifted, girls out

    Dog, Rams, SheepComments (2)

    On January 1, 2016 • By

    The rams have been in with the ewes since the 7th of November, so the boys had been doing their thing for 45 days, before being taken out on Boxing Day.  Sheep have a cycle of around 17 days, so each ewe should have cycled at least twice in that time.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for lambs from the beginning of April.

     

    With all this in mind, I gave the ewes a once-over, drenched them, and put most out on the moor.

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    They all got a drench for Liver Fluke – the biggest sheep killer I have – and moved onto fresh ground.  After problems over the past 2/3 winters, particularly in the hoggs (last year’s lambs), I am drenching the ewes every 6 weeks and the hoggs every 4.

    I had 82 ewes at the rams this year; mainly Blackface and Cheviot, with some crosses too.  All the Blackfaces and those Cheviots and crosses which are suitable were then walked out onto the moor.  About 65 in total.

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    It’s about 1.5 miles out the back road, across the main road and out the peat road to where I leave them

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    They sheep are out on the open moor here but don’t stray too far from the glen which has plentiful supplies of grass, heather and shelter.  The crofts are so flat and exposed, they have next to no shelter from the gales that hit us in January and February, they also have very little grass left on them at this time of year, and can also harbour things like liver fluke.  Being out on the moor solves a lot of these issues.  image5

    I also take out mineral licks, which provide the sheep with the nutrients they need but which they don’t get from the poorer grazing out here.  The licks also provide the added bonus of keeping the ewes where I want them to be.

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    Back at home, the remaining 18 are between my parents’ house and Cross School.  Plenty shelter and a bale of hay to keep them happy.

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    In this photo, there is a wee cross gimmer on the right hand side (nearest to the camera, with the dark face), she suffered majorly from fluke in early Spring. I thought she was a goner, as she went about a month without standing, but has made a great recovery.  I can’t wait to see how she does this winter.

    And while the ewes are all set for the toughest 6 weeks of the winter, both in terms of their pregnancies and weather, the boys are recovering after their year’s work.  They’ll be pampered a little more than the ewes just now!

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  • Monster Saturday

    Adventures, Agricultre, Chickens, eggs, Lambs, Rams, SheepComments (0)

    On December 21, 2014 • By

    I’m lying in bed on Sunday morning, feeling like a broken man. Not because of a hangover, but because of how much I did yesterday!

    Last week was one of these rare Saturdays when I actually managed to do everything I’d set out to do. Funnily enough, I repeated that feat again yesterday.

    I didn’t do anything until after 10am, as we had strong/gale force winds overnight and they didn’t ease off until mid-morning. I had arranged to help my neighbour Donnie take his ram from the ewes, and then he’d help me do the same with mine. We got them all in the trailer and moved them, with me travelling with them in style :)

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    We put the rams together on another croft that I have started using – more on that in a few weeks. They’ll be happy there for a while & are easily accessible to keep an eye on and feed, right out on the main road!

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    After this I caught up on tagging this year’s lambs. Lambs need to be tagged within 9 months of birth, so I tagged the last 5 today, as well as upgrading the slaughter tags in 5 I had bought. You can put a single slaughter tag in a lamb, which apparently markets & buyers prefer, but it means they have to be slaughtered within a year. The ones I bought will be 18 months before they’re slaughtered, so I need to upgrade. I just have 2 ram lambs to tag and that’s it all done. Hopefully I’ll do that on Tuesday.

    The 24 lambs I have we’re drenched for fluke and then I moved them to Cross, the next village, where they’re on good grazing for the next month or so.

    By this time, it’s getting dark. Back home and to the hen house to collect the day’s eggs and sort them. I now have 95 boxes of eggs ready to go. Anyone fancy some???

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    In an unusual act for me, I am going to work tomorrow. I haven’t worked a Monday for a while, but the weather is rubbish and Tuesday looks a lot better. I think tomorrow will be my last day of the day-job this year. No rest for the wicked though, plenty to be getting on with over the next fortnight!

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  • Injured Ram

    Adventures, Medicine, Rams, SheepComments (0)

    On June 15, 2014 • By

    My one remaining intact ram has a broken shoulder!

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    I had the vet over for the vasectomy for the other ram, so I asked him to have a look at this one, as he had a limp and I couldn’t figure out what was causing it.

    He started at his hoof and worked his way up the joints until he figured his shoulder was broken! I felt it myself and could feel it click when pressure was applied. He’s been like this for a couple of months but will hopefully be ok for autumn. It’s his front right that is affected, meaning he should still be ok to serve ewes. If a ram injured his rear leg, he’s not much use, but front in manageable (rear takes the weight when he mounts a ewe). We’ll keep an eye on him and the vet will check him in a couple of months.

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  • Vasectomy (for the ram!)

    Adventures, Agricultre, birth, Medicine, Rams, SheepComments (0)

    On June 15, 2014 • By

    I now have a ‘teaser’ ram. One of my friends told me about his a few years ago, but I didn’t pay much attention to teasers, until I saw the affect it had on my neighbour’s lambing last year; numerous sheep lambing each day, while I was having a max of 2/3.

    Anyway, the process is quite simple. A ram is given a vasectomy and this does strange things to the sheep! The teaser is put in with the ewes 10 days before the ‘intact’ rams. This brings the ewes into season and also synchronises their systems, meaning your lambing period is much tighter. This year I was up at 5am 39 times in 42 days. I was exhausted. Hopefully next year won’t be anywhere near 42 days!

    The process with the ram was quite simple.

    1. Choose a ram

    I have this ram lamb from last year. Wasn’t sure what to do with him, as he is related to too many of my sheep, so this was an easy decision.

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    2. Get the vet out

    I made the appointment when Bud was over for his own ‘sensitive’ operation. The vet wanted it booked as soon as possible, to avoid fly strike. Suits me, so we got it done the following week.

    I had to sit an hold the ram, while the vet did his thing. The animal is given a sedative, the area is given a local anaesthetic and then cleaned.

    The job takes around an hour and I’ve been told it’s similar to the process on humans. Tubes from the testes are snipped and a length removed, to ensure it doesn’t grow back and repair itself.

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    Quick and painless for the animal. It will actually mean he will have a nice long life here now, given that I won’t have to move him on. Fingers crossed this all works now!

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  • 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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  • Eye problems – the bright side

    Agricultre, Medicine, Rams, SheepComments (1)

    On January 26, 2014 • By

    I had a great day on Saturday, lots of work to be done and all day to myself. Just perfect.

    I was on a bit of a high after making my brilliant discovery earlier and carried on with my croft work.

    I had to move all the sheep, as they had been in their current fields for long enough, so set about doing that before the weather worsened. One of the sheep I have is a little old, she should probably have been cast last year, but I gave her one more chance. When she approached me, I noticed she had lost some condition, so I decided to take her closer to the house, so that she gets additional feed. As I enticed her to the gate, I noticed another with some discharge around her eye.

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    Some of you may remember I had really bad eye problems last winter, with nearly 1/3 of my flock suffering from infections. That had all started from one gimmer who returned from the moor with a burst eye. This then caused major problems with the sheep and I remember burying an animal on each of the 4 Saturdays in January 2013. Majorly depressing.

    I’m taking no chances with this, even though I think it’s just a little conjunctivitis. She has been taken home, along with the one that lost some condition, and another that was limping. I’ll keep an eye on the 15 others she was with and speak to the vet tomorrow about treatment.

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    I’m quite relaxed about it, I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.

    I moved the rest of the sheep, after this. They were quite keen to move onto fresh grazing.

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    I also went out to feed the rams in the village park. I feed them once a week, or so, just so that they are friendly enough and it allows me to keep an eye on them.

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  • Another Accident

    Agricultre, Rams, SheepComments (1)

    On January 23, 2014 • By

    I haven’t posted much recently, because I had third crofting accident in a month. This one was bad though.

    Myself and 2 other crofters were putting our rams out into the village park on Saturday 11th January. I jogged ahead with feed, so the rams would follow me, and ended up slipping on the wet ground. Landed with a bang on a rock which hit me just below the knee.

    I was in agony all weekend and went for an X-ray on the Monday, there was no break, just bruising. I haven’t been able to do anything, other than the bare minimum of feeding etc. Back to normal this weekend though.

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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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  • Silly Ram

    Rams, SheepComments (1)

    On November 2, 2013 • By

    I helped a neighbour get his ram out with the ewes on Friday. We caught him & I left a wee bucket of feed with him, to keep him quiet. Turned my back and two minutes later the bucket was jammed between his horns!

    Don’t worry, he’s ok!

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