I might not have quite bought the house yet, but my first tenants are arriving at the weekend!
As it’s a croft, I am required to carry out traditional crofting activities on the land and round here, you don’t get too much more traditional than keeping North Country Cheviot sheep. I was planning to start towards the end of next summer by buying a small pen of ewe lambs at the annual sale, raising them for a year and then selling them as gimmers, ready to breed – my sheep advisers, who are kindly teaching me all about how to care for them properly, told me that it was a gentle way to start without having several weeks of getting up every few hours in the middle of the night for lambing.
However, a friend of mine is moving away to the other end of the country and can’t take her three pet sheep with her, so I said I’d look after them for her – they were bred in the village, so it seems kind of fitting that they stay here. They’re coming to live in my fields until the purchase goes through (I’ve got a CPH number from when we kept pigs here, so it was just a question of ringing Animal Health and letting them know they were arriving – apparently I don’t need a flock number until I start producing lambs) and will then move to the new fields to eat them down once available (not that three sheep are going to make much of an impression on 9.75 acres, but I’m going to grow some of it on for hay anyway).