The effect of hooded crows on hill sheep farming in Argyll, Scotland. Hooded crow damage to hill sheep.

Published online
01 Jan 1978
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Houston, D.

Publication language


Crow damage to 'couped' or trapped ewes in Argyll, Scotland caused only slight economic damage. Crow predation on lambs and other causes of lamb mortality were evaluated. A survey excluding crow predation showed that of 297 lambs found dead on the hill 48% died from starvation, 22% were stillborn and 9% died from disease. Crows attacked 48% of lambs found dead on the hill. The wounds showed that only 17% of these lambs were alive when attacked and their body condition showed that in most cases they had exhausted their fat reserves and were on the point of starvation before being attacked. Crows did not select healthy lambs and the range of body condition of lambs attacked was similar to lambs dying without being attacked.