Published: 24 June 2022
I'm sometimes needed by my sister to help with sheep. This week's task was for her to drench lambs and check the feet of a few ewes which were showing signs of discomfort. The flock behaved very well, allowing themselves to be steered by two elderly ladies without the benefit of a sheepdog, and they were soon penned up. It doesn't always go so well!
This was a new experience for the lambs, now approaching 2 months old. The lambs and ewes were separated into two pens, another first for the lambs. The lambs yarmed incessantly; the ewes weren't quite as noisy. Maybe chewing the cud took priority over bleating. Once the tasks were done and the gates opened to allow them to return to the park, the ewes and lambs soon re-connected.
In a few weeks they will again be penned so the shearers can do their work and I think the ewes will be glad to have their fleeces removed. Some of them are pretty untidy - and some have started to lose parts of their fleece. Once upon a time - when wool fetched a good price - it was common for one of the family to gather the hentilagets (the tufts of wool which had come off the sheep) .
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Shetland is the most northerly group of Scottish islands. Apart from mainland Scotland, the other near neighbours are Norway to the east and the Faroe Islands to the north west.