Homefolding of Sheep recommended.
THE subjoined paper, addressed to the Editor of the Agricultural Magazine, seems deserving attention on this island ; where the little regard paid to sheep is obvious to every observer. In general no care whatever is taken of them, and they are suffered to wander every where, like wild animals, to the great annoyance of the industrious, whose crops are often destroyed by their depredations. The laws which enjoin the tending of flocks are never heeded : nor do the proprietors appear to be sensible of the real value, and importance of those animals, nor of the great improvement they are susceptible, when treated with due care and attention.
The plan proposed by Old Suffolk might be introduced here, at a very small expense, and with few deviations : for instance, instead of the fold being made along the side of a barn, any stone fence wall, having a northern aspect, is equally well suited to the purpose. The covering of the fold might be of furze, or coarse grass, and the nightly provender for the sheep, instead of hay or turnips, might be at first (until straw is more generally introduced here) the refuse of potatoe crops. Even a small allowance, placed within a dry, warm, and well sheltered retreat, during the rainy seasons particularly, would very soon tempt these naturally tame, quiet, and inoffensive animals, habitually to seek for their homely dwelling and food, after a very little attention of the shepherds in training them to come to it at a certain hour in the evening. I am persuaded that whoever may try the experiment, will soon be satisfied that the expense and trouble incurred will be amply repaid, by the improvement of his sheep, and by the valuable manure they will produce : and if the experimenter should happen to have a real gout for good mutton, I have no doubt he will be very thankful to Old Suffolk for the good advice he has given.
18th December, 1812.