Sunday, February 8, 2009

WILD HAGGIS AND SNOW

The Haggi (plural) on the castle estate are in their absolute element enjoying the first proper snowfall in many years. Indiginous to the Highlands of Scotland they are a very hardy breed,well used to freezing temperatures and howling winds.Much like The Arctic Hare the Haggis turns a beautiful white in Winter time ,to camouflage itself against the snow.Having had little or no snow here the Haggi have up to now remained a rusty brown colour. Incredibly though in the last couple of weeks they have slowly turned pure white! It is indeed quite a sight to see them run down the hillsides in the evening as i round them up on the Honda 50 ,to put them in their pens overnight. Haggi are much like crows that nest together but pretty much head their own seperate ways through the days ,foraging and grazing ( Haggi are largely vegetarian but will feed on the odd bit of carrion in the winter when food is scarcer) and then like clockwork all flock home again in the evenings.This makes herding them into their pens a doddle, easily done by a single person.The way they flock in unison at dusk is quite a spectacular display of coordination, all acting like a single wave on the ocean ,all turning at speed at the same time, almost by telepathy. Anyone who has ever witnessed a flock of starlings will know what Imean.
The eerie thing though, apart from the sound of their hooves they are completely silent. This only changes in the springtime when the males grow small antlers for the rutting season and the females call to them with a high flat note reminiscent of the bagpipe.

9 comments:

SUSAN SONNEN said...

You got me! I'm so gullible. I was impressed with the beauty of the species as you described it and did a google search for pictures and information. :P

Totalfeckineejit said...

Hey Susan ,thanks for dropping by.Don't believe everything you read on the internet.The wild Haggi in Scotland are now largely extinct due to poor farming methods and poachers thus building up myth and nonesense about the creature, even to the extent of some people claiming that it never in fact existed at all and is just a joke.The Haggi we have are an Irish hybrid variety bred and reared exclusively here at castle EEjit.I'll try and get some pics to post up on the blog.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Oh Susan by the way how are the postcards, any news yet?

SUSAN SONNEN said...

Yes...4 of my first 5 have been received and I have received one from Colorado. I'm so impatient...I want a mailbox-ful NOW! I have this romantic notion of a quirky great-great-granddaughter discovering my collection of hundreds of postcards. Can't you just see her gently turning each one over to read?

I'm hoping that in the next week or two I will learn firsthand if this is taken seriously by most of the participants or not. Like I said a couple of weeks ago, the statistics show a high level of participation. Here's hoping the stats aren't lying!

I'll keep you updated. :)

Dominic Rivron said...

Whenever I get a haggis (which is not often) it's a vegetarian haggis. However - from what you say, all haggis are more-or-less vegetarian. Do you have to control the haggis' diet very strictly in order to market it as "vegetarian haggis"?

Totalfeckineejit said...

Hey that's great news and yes they would make a lovely keepsake for future generations.I hope you get hundreds in the weeks and months ahead.I think postcards are wonderful, especially old ones, but of course todays postcards will be old one day.I found some once on ebay, they had been posted by a woman called Mollie in the early 1920's from places all over the world to an address in Dublin here in Ireland.The pictures are interesting but it's the exotic locations (particularly in them days)and little messages that tantalise.I couldn't manage to get all the cards as they were seperated into many lots, but I have enough to piece a tiny bit of her story together.I'd forgotten about them till I read your interesting post-thanks :)

Totalfeckineejit said...

Hi Dominic, yes indeed, we have to be very careful with what we feed to the vegetarian and vegan Haggi,both are guaranteed of course to be totally meat free.This mainly pertains to dietry supplements and medicines as the Haggi are mainly grazers and foragers.We do however have to make sure the Vegan/veggie Haggi don't have a sneaky nibble of carrion or any other meat based food .We once caught one of the veggie Haggi ordering a Big Mac at the local drive through, luckily the staff there know us and always give us a tip-off.An interesting point is that the vegetarian Haggis seems to have slightly longer fur, beyond that there is no discernable difference in their outward appearance whatsoever.

BarbaraS said...

I reckon the haggi would love it up here in the cold Cooleys :)

Totalfeckineejit said...

I'm sure they would B, it looks beautiful up there- ideal conditions for them.Will I send you up a couple? They breed quickly(gestation time of only 6 weeks,always quadruplets,newborn fully mature in 12 weeks)before you know it herds of Haggi would be roamin in the Cooley gloamin.