Sheep and other stuff:

Hirsel Hebrideans – All of our sheep are handled regularly, receiving (almost) monthly foot care and other vet recommended treatments, as well as daily visits, by us, to wherever they’re grazing on the Hirsel. This makes most of them – there are a couple of headstrong mamas! – very manageable. Many of them come to the hand for treats, and some like a bit of grooming. They graze our fields and meadows in the green months – doing a great job of getting the overgrowth under control – and are given quality feed and home-grown (pesticide free) fodder in the winter months. We don’t use dogs for herding, but have ‘bucket trained’ our flock, meaning they come to the shake, or even the call, which makes for stress free herding most of the time. (Things get a little exciting when lambing is eminent!) After hearing lots of advice about ‘don’t give them names, you’ll get too attached’…we named all of our starter flock, and grew very attached to every one of the 12. Of course, as the flock grows, naming all the non-pedigree sheep has fallen to the wayside, but we still treat all of them with affection and as much kindness as is practically possible on a farm. Our theory is that market day will be hard for everyone whether we’re attached or not – but loving them up a little makes life a lot more easy and fun in the meantime.

In 2017, we’ll have our first shearling tups for sale: one pedigree and two non-pedigree. They are all good-natured, from sweet tempered mums. The pedigree is registered, and his parents (Slipperfield Donald and Bryland Ebony) are part of our home flock. If not sold before then, these three tups will go to the Dingwall rare breeds market in November.

In addition, if you are looking for one or two sheep as pets or grazers – a pair is recommended, as they are social animals – we have a few males that might suit.

Contact us for more information, or to set up a viewing.

The 2016 boys, waiting for their monthly manicures.

Meat – There are many reasons to choose Hebridean hogget (1 1/2 year old lamb) or mutton (any sheep over 2 years old): it’s leaner, more flavorful, and as it’s not mass-marketed, provenance is easy to establish. At the Hirsel, the close relationship we have with all our animals means you can be sure that the sheep meat you purchase will have come from healthy happy animals. And that when it’s time for them to go to the butcher, it will be handled as humanely as possible. The Hebridean Sheep Society has more to say about why you should choose Hebridean over other breeds of sheep for your table.

2017 will be the first year The Hirsel will have meat available for sell. Check this page again soon for more information, or fill in the contact form if you’d like us to get in touch with you about selection, schedule, and prices.

Wool – With its high lanolin content and thick fibres, Hebridean fleece is known for for its weather resistant qualities, and is becoming highly prized by hand crafters too. While the breed is normally known for coming in shades of black and grey, The Hirsel’s flock has several latte-coloured ewes, as well as a few sheep that run towards red tints. We even have a ewe that gives us white lambs!

We are busy investigating ways of offering this beautiful wool to you in a variety of forms, from whole fleeces (raw or cold-water washed) and hand carded rovings, to yarn. Check this page again soon for more information, or fill in the contact form if you’d like us to get in touch with you.

Produce – At this time, The Hirsel is only growing fodder crops for our own animals. However, this year, we are experimenting with a variety of vegetable crops to see how they respond to our particular soil and farming style. If successful, we’ll be offering our produce for sale at area farm shops, as well as selling direct from The Hirsel. More news on this later in the year.

Middlefield being brought back into shape after 30+ years of neglect. Photo from 2015. After extensive draining and successieve rounds of plowing and green manure, 2017 should see oats harvested in this field.