SPEL-SHEEP IN KATTEGAT
Article by Erling Skurdal, Norsk Sau & Geit, no.6, 1999. ( Norwegian magazine )
very often uses his little wooden boat to get there, but this day a
supply boat was sailing. The
island is a wonderful holiday place for the owners, who visit now and
then in the season. Even though we arrived unannounced we were welcomed really
well. "A little
dram" for welcome, and so it continued with good food, drinks and
talks into the wann summer night. Danish
hospitality at its best. This
together with bright sunshine over land and sea, and not to forget a
very interesting professional talk, made a very memorable day.
- Norwegian Land ?
was the reason why Kjeld came to the island with sheep.
He even got the opportunity to buy a small share of the island,
the only one outside the farnily. "
I just feel like a cat among ennines ", says Kjeld with a smile.
Some of the owners have now bought an ewe each, which give back
lambmeat. This was the
beginning of the sheep group with Kjeld as supervisor.
all year round.
four years, there have been a loss of about 4-6 small lambs ( 2 to 4
days) and two grown-up lambs. No
ewes has been lost. Lambing
is 160% - 170%. The herd is
not treated against ecto/endo parasites.
The little lung worin has been found, but is no problem.
Kjeld says, he hope to build up a natural immunity.
10 km. North of Ebeltoft,
on the eastem coast of Jutland lives a real Norway-friend and sheep
farmer, Kjeld Malthe-Bruun. Not only is he in Norway during spring and autumn on hill
walks and sheep gathering in the Ryfylke mountains in Western Norway, he
has also got spel-sheep on Hjelm, a little island 6 km. out in the sea,
his flock is grazing throughout summer and winter.
Kjeld is especially interested in sheep behaviour through the
year. We (Sau & Geit
magazine) have been invited over on one of his many inspections and
study tours to Hjelm.
He has an opinion on the early lamb loss. There is a significant difference in ewes when it comes to mother instincts. Some of them have their lambs directly close to their body, others a meter away. If the lead-sheep suddenly decides to walk away in the middle of a dark April night, the flock immediately follow her. That could be a disaster for ewes/lambs with weaker bonds. lt is evident too, that spel-sheep is a very silent breed. Everything seems to work automatically - very much to the frustration of the shepherd, says Kjeld.
bond in the flock is broken at lambing.
The lower hierarchy, the longer away from the flock.
If a lower hierarchy ewe happens to lamb to near a dominant ewe,
or even the flock, she could have her lamb(s) stolen.
Some ewes, often younger ones leaves the flock for more than one
In the family their are many opinions about what to do with the still expanding bush land, because it is evident that the sheep can't stop it. They prefer the lower coastland close to the beach, which is still open. They even prefer the stony beach itself with it's sappy plants, fresh ashored seaweed and the salty water from the sea.
summer the Danish Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik visited Hjelm.
The Queen, very interested in archaeology wanted to look at the
on going excavations, while Prince Henrik quickly
got an eye on the sheep flock! Anyhow,
later in autumn, when the new Danish heir to the throne,
Nicolai was baptised, the main course at the royal dinner was lamb from