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Seasonal advice - Spring and Summer

Mother sheep and her two lambs in the field

Be alert on your dog walks during lambing time.

We all love seeing new lambs in the fields so please be extra vigilant when out walking with your dog so that you, your dog and the lambs stay safe.

Here's what you can do:

  • Be alert to where sheep and their lambs are. If they’ve been brought down from the hills to lamb and to escape harsh winter weather, you may find them in fields nearer to home where you wouldn’t normally expect to find them.
  • Do not take your dog into fields where there are lambs, calves or other young animals. Go into a neighbouring field or onto land next to it.
  • With most sheep being pregnant at this time of year, consequences can be serious if the sheep are frightened into running away, whatever the cause.  Sheep are naturally scared of dogs and both fright and running can cause sheep to abort their developing lambs. Any incident that requires veterinary assistance is distressing and costly. Distressing for the dog owner, the farmer and his family and costly if ongoing veterinary care is needed or if animals die. 
  • Remember that a farmer could shoot your dog if it's caught worrying livestock.
  • Be sure to not let your dog out on its own. Ensure he/she is always left somewhere safe and enclosed with no opportunities to escape. Research is showing that many sheep worrying incidents are caused by local dogs straying from home or being let out to walk by themselves.
  • The evenings are getting lighter, but if you will be walking at dusk or in darkness make sure you know where your dog is at all times. He/she should be under proper control so that there’s no likelihood of running off and chasing or attacking sheep/lambs. Wearing hi vis clothing or lights can help you keep an eye on your dog and make you both visible to others when near traffic or on shared use routes.
  • Could your dog’s recall be better? Check out these links to dog training videos:
  • Be Sheep Wise - Watch this short video and find out all you need to know about being Sheep Wise - this film highlights the very serious problems caused when dogs chase sheep.

Good news from Police Scotland is that livestock worrying has decreased by nearly 40% during spring lambing season in 2017, compared to previous year. 

The three-month campaign saw 43 incidents reported, with all but two cases involving sheep.

As lambs grow you should still remain focussed and keep your dog under proper control to make the most of your dog walks and stay safe.

Sheep are almost always the animals affected in livestock worrying incidents, in all but two of the 43 recorded incidents, and in 86% of cases, livestock was either injured or died as a result of the incident.

Ground nesting bird alert (April – July)

April-July is the peak time for bird breeding in Scotland. Remember that not all birds nest in trees so please keep your dog under closer control in areas such as moorland, forests, grassland, loch shores and the seashore. This is so that your dog can't damage eggs from birds nesting on the ground, or predate young chicks that have hatched and might be vulnerable in open nests on or near to the ground.

If you're visiting a nature reserve or other conservation area you may be requested to follow a specific route or to avoid going to a specific area. Following local guidance can help to safeguard the nature and wildlife in these areas at this important time.

Meet the farmers - insight

Listen to the 4 farmers in the subtitled films below. They all love the countryside and want everyone to share that with others, but they also ask for consideration and respect for their livelihoods.  

 

Bob Barr photo    Kate Hall photo

Bob Barr and Kate Hall – Farmers in The Lothians

 

Alister Orr photo

Alister Orr – Farmer in East Ayrshire

 

Kenneth Bone photo

Kenneth Bone - Farmer on the Isle of Arran