Thursday 2 May 2013

"Marking" the lambs.

"Marking" is the end of the lambing. Its when we find out how many ewe lambs and how many wether (castrated male) lambs we have. Each farm and croft has a mark unique to the district and in the past each Police Station held a register of marks, clear and unequivocal signs of ownership that can't be lost like plastic tags or wash off in the rain like keel. The Craigard mark is the, " back bit o the far lug", a triangular nick in the rear edge of the right ear with a stainless steel clipper. Its another of our farming euphemisms that the Dormouse is forever picking up on, for example "weaning" is tearing little lambs away from their distraught mothers, "culling" is killing and "marking" cruel, barbaric disfigurement of little lambs. She is right of course, farming jargon ( subject specific linguistic register) does tend to cover up whats really going on.

Moving on.... we have a lambing percentage of 140, this has been the same at this stage for the last four years. What really counts is the number of lambs weaned and taken to the mart and ewe lambs kept for breeding. That's the real lambing percentage.

What is the near side and what is the far side of an animal?  It goes back to the days of the horse I think (correct me if I'm wrong). If you are standing facing a horse you would normally mount it from what is your right side, the horse's left, near side, as it faces you, the far side is the horse's right. I assume this terminology was automatically applied to other farm animals, 

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