Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Today Chris and Raymond finished horn burning the gimmer hoggs ( a gimmer hogg is a female sheep born last April). Horn burning is similar to branding but as it is applied to the sheep's horn it causes no pain. A mark is burnt into the horn as a way of identification and is a traditional method, used for generations, before plastic sheep tags were introduced. The practise continues because ear tags can be lost or tampered with but a horn mark cannot. Each farm has a different set of initials and it is this that forms the mark. For example Pry House Farm horn burn mark is CAS, the initials of a landowner from the past. On the vast open fell it is not unusual for a sheep to wander for many miles or get missed at gathering times. It may turn up with another farmer's sheep, when this happens it can be immediately identified by its mark and returned.