For well over 100 years, the socio-economic life of the Falkland Islands has been substantially assisted by the farming of sheep. The vast expanses of uninhibited grassland lend itself to the cultivation of large flocks. Combine that with the high winds and you have some of the finest wool around, apparently. These conditions, however, are both a blessing and a curse: our agricultural guru informed us that 35% of all lambs born on the islands die. The cost of selling a sheep doesn’t warrant the cost of supplement feeding them so sick/orphan lambs are sadly left to their own devices, often fated to become part of the food chain surrounding the predators and scavengers of the Islands (the turkey vulture, in particular, does well out of this bargain).
One of the more unexpected consequences of this state of affairs is that there is no shortage of lambs available if anyone does feel like adopting one. Many of the farms out in Camp have small groups of pet lambs, you may recall Han and I helping to feed some of the lambs out at San Carlos.
Our good friends Zoe and Travis brought home several lambs from Saladero (the government farm) last Christmas and you may recall that we ended up adopting one from them, a large Merino lamb called Milo.
We thought, as he’s become quite a large part of our lives here, we’d comment on our/the ownership of sheep as pets. Milo was originally kept on by us as a solution to our lack of lawnmower, but he has endeared himself to us in a frightening way (particularly in Han’s case, as most people that have met her here will testify). He’s also been helping some friends with their grass so he’s become fairly well known among our acquaintances. Nevertheless, we’d highly recommend these characterful, productive and easy-keeping quadrupeds for any home without a lawnmower. At first, they do require a fair amount of feeding but it’s quite fun and they’ll happily spend time with you as a result, especially if you’re chilling in the summer sun:
Having been weaned off the milk, he’s grown significantly over time on ours and our neighbours’ lawns:
He’s also made a few more character traits known to us over time, such as his love of a broom massage (thank you Marek for finding that one out) and his latest trick of jumping up for tea and/or biscuits:
But most of all, he loves two things; dandelions and Han:
He’s booked in for a day trip to one of the local farms to be shorn next season (hopefully with a little help from us) and as he’s finest Falklands Merino, Han’s looking forward to getting to work on his wool and proving that he’s both handy for the lawn and productive for the wardrobe. Watch this space.