Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

Wonder of ewe as sheep reaches 23

Old ewe
The blackface ewe on Lewis is 23 years old

A crofter on the Western Isles believes he has the oldest sheep in Scotland among his flock.

John Maciver, of North Tolsta, Lewis, said the ewe's ear tag showed that it was 23 years old. He said the animals usually only survive until about 12.

Mr Maciver put the blackface sheep's longevity down to it still having most of its teeth, allowing it to graze easily.

He said he would keep the ewe as long as it was fit.

The crofter said: "She's a hardy beast."

It has been suggested that the ewe may have a claim to the title of the world's oldest sheep.

A sheep called Lucky in Australia was officially recognised as the world's oldest sheep before dying at the age of 23 in a heatwave last month.

She set the Guinness record in 2007 and was a celebrity in her home town of Lake Bolac, near Melbourne.

Lucky was hand-reared from birth after being abandoned by her mother. She went on to have 35 offspring of her own.

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