Monday, October 31, 2011

Sheep dipping

The sheep are gathered from the field and hill

and transported by various means to the sheep fank*

They wait their turn 

As this age old dance takes place
  Each knowing their steps in this complicated reel.

Down they go

round and round 
 muncuairt muncuairt

Then out they go -  and next set please!  
It is an easy gentle rhythm - punctuated by jokes and laughter

and the occasional blocked drain.

And boys are welcomed into the fold 
- held up to see and wonder - and learn

as this spiral dance continues on.

and the sheep are soon back where they belong.

* fank - from the Gaelic word fangi - temporary enclosure or corral.


  1. Awwww, I bet their glad when it's all over...... sheep and men!!!
    Sue Xxx

  2. The dipping looks interesting! What is the purpose for doing this? I don't know the first thing about sheep so am excited to learn all I can.

  3. I can remember watching this being done at a friend's farm when I was a little girl! It fascinated me to see these fluffy animals swimming around and being dunked and coming out right as rain at the end of the dip. There is so much to farming that people don't realise and more's the pity, I think. I spent a lot of very happy days, staying with my friend on their farm, thanks for bringing some of those memories back. xxxxxx

  4. What chemicals are they using now?
    It is a bit late for my Man, but at least dipping is no longer compulsory, and there is a choice of chemicals apart from the dreaded, deadly organophosphates

  5. Brilliant post and lovely pictures as always. I love the description of it as a dance

  6. I love how you wrote that about the boys and the men.

    *so where does fankle come from, in the expression "don't get yourself in a fankle"? A derivative of fank or something else entirely?


  7. THanks. I had wondered how they did it. We can't keep sheep here, too many predators.

  8. Hello and thank you
    GZ - not sure what they were using, but it wasn't OPs.
    Tracey - they are dipped to treat for various diseases - Sheep scab, ticks and parasites, after their summer on the moorland. They are done now to ensure they are healthy and free of any nasties, before they go to see the ram.
    GAE - it seemed just like one of those timeless dances somehow.
    Meggs, Thanks. :) I am failry sure it is a different word, but i will find out. xxx
    Marjorie = glad you found it interesting. xxx`

  9. What cool photos- love that you share this with us- If I had not read your answer to Tracey's question I wouldn't have known why they were dipped either.

  10. I've never seen a sheep dip in the round before Jacqui. Looks very efficient.

    Love your pumpkins!

  11. i love the sense of permanence and of continuity about this. maybe i'm wrong but the sheep pens and dipping area look like they have been there for a long time. it's settling to think that this has been a long standing practise.

  12. oooo look at your new header and background! Love it and love your jack-o-lanterns!!

  13. I have never seen this done before -- how neat! I showed my Mom your photos and she knew exactly what was going on. Plus, she says those are "real" sheep because of their horns.

  14. What an interesting post ~ thank you for sharing. Loved the photos that went with and the narrative too :)

  15. Lovely to see it in photos, thanks Jacqui. Especially love the blocked drain :) xx

  16. Love the photos.

    We've found a dip near us but so far no sheep have been in it. We do have a half dozen beautiful cows that have moved in next door complete with three cute calves. My daughter spends ages calling them down with porridge oats...although I'm not sure they should be eating them!

  17. Let me flout my ignorance blatently! Why do you dip the sheep, and it what. That doesn't look like a vat of mint jelly to me.

  18. Sheep dipping? Is this like giving them a bath or treating their wool or skin for diseases? Very very interesting!!!


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