EweTube: The sounds of Soay feeding

No one believes me when I tell them our ewes are noisy eaters, much less that you can watch the hay level drop in the feeders when fully pregnant ewes are at the trough. Thanks to my dandy new video cam, I can now document our ill-mannered ladies. True, they are particularly eager eaters right now because the demands on their system, like their bellies, are growing. To say they love a little alfalfa thrown into the mix is a gross understatement. For Soay sheep, alfalfa hay is the equivalent of … hmm … a fork-tender prime rib? a flawless flourless chocolate cake? a box of Harry & David’s dark chocolate truffles? a (real) truffle omelette cooked in butter? Have a listen:

Until this year, we have always supplemented our ewes in late pregnancy with a bit of grain or beet pellets, but to be honest, it is a lot of work to feed lots of ewes with grain buckets. Distributing just a wee bit of alfalfa flakes along with the regular hay is way easier, and less expensive, too. My resident biologist tells me alfalfa is also more “natural” in the sense that sheep are grass eaters, and alfalfa is in the grass family, unlike grain and especially beet pulp, which are farther removed from the diet sheep are accustomed to, especially Soay sheep, who survived for thousands of years on the St. Kilda grass.

And even if it were a close call on cost and hassle factor for the shepherds, the matrons’ vote is the clincher: they are delighted with the menu change.

For now …

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  1. robson says:

    What a nice way to start the morning. Thanks! I love your videos of the Soays.