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Are Sheep Intelligent?

Intelligent question? I dont know. But before we continue we first better make sure what we are talking about: Here is the definition of a sheep according to wikipedia, for those of you who dont know what we are talking about:

The domestic sheep (Ovis aries), the most common species of the sheep genus (Ovis), is a woolly ruminant quadruped which probably descends from the wild mouflon of south-central and south-west Asia. Sheep breeders refer to female sheep as ewes, intact males as rams, castrated males as wethers, yearlings as hoggets, and younger sheep as lambs. In sheep husbandry, a group of sheep is called a flock or mob.

Which still doesnt explain the sheeps intelligence but according to a spokesperson of the British National Sheep Association, "Sheep are quite intelligent creatures and have more brainpower than people are willing to give them credit for." For example, sheep in Yorkshire, England found a way to get over cattle grids by rolling on their backs. A study published in National Geographic showed a sheep can remember the faces of fifty other sheep for over two years.

But in my humble opinion the best source of information will always be the farmer who works with them. Donald Fletcher at the Persabus Farm gave a radio interview recently explaining the intelligence of the sheep and according to this interview sheep dont only recognise faces but it seems they have a particular good memory for Bruichladdich Malt. Click here to listen to the interview (opens your mp3 player)

Possible Ferry from Kintyre to Jura

A vote will be held next week on Jura for a possible new ferry service between the mainland, Crinan Kintyre, to Craighouse on Jura. The supposed ferry should be a passenger service only. Earlier plans for a car ferry were rejected, the people on Jura didn't want their peaceful island to be changed in to a highway for people to travel to Islay. This new service should become a high speed service with travel times from one hour. The ferry is likely to become a rigid inflatable boat and will be in service from April to September onwards, if the plans will be approved by the Argyll and Bute council. The ferry will certainly make Jura more accessible for tourists and will be mainly a big progression for the islanders, they now have to travel to Islay first and take a plane or ferry for the mainland. Jura's population has already dropped by 30% in the last 40 years, so maybe this new service will halt the decline and will bring some more prosperity to the people on Jura.

The whole story is also available here

Staying Cool on Islay

With the recent high temperatures on Islay the sheep were lucky to take a "coat off" and stay cool. The pictures were made by Arra Fletcher on Sunday the 23rd of July. Mike the Kiwi clipper, in the white t-shirt, comes over to Islay for almost 20 years assisted by Nigel and his wife Suzy. I'd better let the pictures speak for themselves...

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