Eleven Jacob hogget ewes on the point of lambing and believed to be stolen were discovered after being left into the field of Carlow sheep and suckler farmer Eddie Cullen.

Cullen discovered the sheep on Thursday morning in a ploughed field of his near Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow. The sheep had been dropped into the field at some stage on Wednesday night and tire tracks were visible in the gateway. No neighbours, or anyone in the locality, has claimed them despite numerous calls and social media posts.

Half the sheep have had their tags removed and the other half have been left with factory tags. Cullen has since let them into a field of grass where the sheep have stayed since. He is expecting them to lamb “any day now”.

Clare theft

Elsewhere, a woman from Co Clare contacted Clare Marts in Ennis last Thursday morning to ask them to watch out for a pen of 11 similar in-lamb Jacob hoggets that had been stolen from her farm the day before. In a communication mix up, the mart has misplaced the woman’s contact details and are waiting for her to contact them back.

Both parties, Clare Marts and the Carlow farmer, believe the sheep likely belong to the now unknown woman in Clare, based off her description of the stolen stock.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Eddie Cullen said: “I think whoever took them realised that they were about to lamb and let them off.”

He said the intention had probably been to slaughter them, but when they realised there would be issues at any factory with a pen of ewes so heavily in-lamb, they then had no use for them.

“They all have big bags and look like hoggets. They have the goat type horns,” he said.

Anyone with information on the sheep is asked to contact Bagenalstown Garda Station, Co Carlow on 059 977 4120.

Readers who are aware of the unknown woman in Co Clare who is missing her Jacob sheep are asked to encourage her to make contact with Clare Marts on 065 905 1108.