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An Gàrradh Mòr Cara — 3 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing the photos. Always intrigued by the different sheep breeds and the characteristics that allow them to ‘live well’ and tolerate the conditions of a region. Hebridean look like a very hardy sheep, what is their fleece like? Using the winter here in Maine to spin through the fleeces from this past spring. oh, joy! best to you both!

    • J > They are hardy primarily because they can get by on quite meagre natural forage – the coarse slow-growing grasses and heather and shrubby trees (eg goat willow), and indeed given the choice they would shun the lush green grass that most commercial breeds need, and they will eat more like a goat (perhaps because they are nearer to their common origins than are commercial breeds). The young lambs we raise at home because their mother can’t feed them, once they start on solid food, they will never eat the grass of our lawns and paths, but take them across the road to the headland where there is coarse grass and low heather – immediately they will start eating. They’ve had no mother to teach them to do this – except perhaps in the womb they could taste what mum eats!
      D > Some sheep bloodlines are much more of the primitive type, with two-layer fleeces (soft fluffy underlayer for warmth, coarse outer layer of longer fibres, to shed water). Other bloodlines – particularly from flocks raised in England and other places fit only for softies, the hairy layer has been largely bred out, and the under layer has developed into more of a hill and downland type, ie longer and ‘woolly’ similar to Shetland but not as fine. These sheep are less likely to develop with age the white/light-grey fibres. Darker/Blacker coloured wool is much preferred by spinners and knitters, but whilst this is thought to be a genetic trait, our experience is that nutrition is a major factor – especially nutrition during the early life.

  2. Lol, even with the kooky looking bits of hay/straw stuck to them, these sheep have a way of looking all on thier dignity, as if mildly affronted that you might have caught them by surprise with the camera. They didn’t have time to pretty themselves up; they know they are beautiful!

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