There have also been attempts to keep goats and rabbits, but none of these species are on the island for the time being.
The sheep on MykinesThere are many sheep on Mykines. According to the old regulations there are 1200 mother sheep on Mykines, among the four "Haugeparter", outfields, Heimangjógv, Líðarhauge, Borgardalur and Kalvadalur and the Holmen.
Because fear of illness it for many years have been prohibited to move living sheep between the islands, but now it is allowed after application. The sheep on Mykines have this way for many years been isolated and it this way has been difficult to perform purposeful breeding. The sheep on Mykines comes from Island and Scotland. Some of the mother sheep have horn.
Most of the sheep stay in the open all the year round while some private sheep are stabled in the winter, like some of the rams, because they, after having done their duty among the sheep, are too weakened to survive the winter in the open. The better rams go in Lamba during the winter, where the grass is very fine, probably because of the fertilizing effect of the guano supplied by the puffins during their breeding season.
Pictures of sheep from Mykines
In the old days, the 1930'ies, there were around 40 cows on Mykines. They grazed in the outfield in the summer, where they also were milked by the girls and women, both in the morning and the evening. The milk production has been far form what modern cows are able to. From 1937 to 1969 the milk production on the Faroes increased from 1700 kilo to 3200 kg per cow a year.
But it is without any doubt that the cow have had an enormous influence on the nourishment of the Faroese population, especially the families with children. The milk has been drunk directly out of the pot, but has also been used in the production of cheese, butter and junket products. And when the cows were slaugthered there was naturally a lot of meat.
Later on it has been more ordinary in the summer to guide the cows to the outfield in the morning after milking and they have then returned by themselves in the afternoon for milking and to be in the cowshed for the night.
In former times the cattle stood in the basement during the winter and this way supplied the houses with a substantial amount of heat. But this way it is no more as there now is one only one household with cattle and there they are in a cowshed.
A special and well known phenomenon on Mykines was the oxen on the Holm. The grass on the Holm has been renowned to be the origin of especially delicious meat. It was both troublesome and dangerous to keep the oxen on the Holm. Before the bridge to the Holm was build in 1909 one had to bring them out there an to get them back by rowing boats. Marie Skylv Hansen has in her books, Gamla Gøtur, binding 1 described this. The oxen were brought on board the boats at the shore on the Holm, were rowed to Sørvagur and then driven over the mountains to Tórshavn.
In the 1930'ies the meat of the oxen were processed and tinned by the far-sighted Mykines man Joensen, father to the painter Samal Joensen Mikines.
Pictures of cows and calfs from Mykines
There has been a special Faroese race of horses and one of the horses now going in the outfield should be one of these. These old Faroese horses were relative small and very robust. The other horses now on Mykines are mixtures of Icelandic and Norwegian horses, among them Norwegian fjord horses.
The horses are very robust and can be on their own all the year around in the outfield. In the winter they are very long haired and are, strangely enough, often seen at high altitudes in the outfield, around Knukur, 560 meter above sea level. In snowy days they can by means of their hooves scrape their way down to the grass.
Pictures of horses and a lamb from Mykines
Through the years there have been many races of dogs on Mykines, but there has been a tendency to have more and more border collie genes in the dogs. In later years there as a whole have been a greater interest in breeding and training good sheepdogs all over the Faroes and a renewal of the Faroese stock of sheepdogs has taken place in the later years by importing dogs from Scotland.
Some of the inhabitants of Mykines are members of the Faroese association for sheepdog owners and regularly there are courses and contest for sheepdogs. And some of the dogs from Mykines have had high ranking at these contests. There has even been contests on Mykines with participation from other Faroese islands. One of the inhabitants of Mykines has even trained dogs as supplement of living with good results.
The Faroese sheepdog is mostly bordercollie, a race of dogs supposed to be one of the most intelligent races of dogs. And one easily believe so, watching them training and rounding up the sheep. Having clever dogs have also had the consequence that the old regulations for how many men were needed for rounding up the sheep in the different part of the outfield are not valid any more, as good dogs are able to do the work of many men, when rounding up the sheep.
Most of the sheepdogs on Mykines are mostly lightweight and elegant, longhaired, mostly black and white motley with a good and kindly temper, lively and especially kindly to children. And they have a phenomenal condition. They can run far and quickly up and down steep slopes as nothing.
One often have the impression, that the dogs know when rounding up the sheep is planned, as they see the men preparing for doing so, with ropes and staves heading for the outfields. One really get the impression, that the dogs like to round up sheep, as eager and expectant they seem to be.
Pictures of dogs from Mykines
Until 1998 there on Mykines lived a special race of cats, which had a very pronounced fifth toe, especially on the forelegs. It looked very much the same as the Norwegian "lundehund", the puffin dog, which had extra toes and was used in Lofoten in Norway to crawl into the puffin wholes and catch the puffins.
But since the last of these special Mykines cats died, there have only been "normal" domestic cats in the village.
Pictures of puoltry from Mykines
Some years ago attempts were made to have a regularly breed of ducks on Mykines. But among other reasons, veterinarian regulations, it was not possible to continue with the breeding, Sadly enough, because it was and could have been a substantial income and employment for the inhabitants of such a remote island as Mykines.
Pictures of ducks from Mykines
There has been a special Faroese goose, which was much alike the wild Greylag-Goose, but was a little smaller and with a different colouring. The geese now kept on Mykines are "normal" domesticated geese. In the winter 2005/2006 the domesticated geese were accompanied by wild Greylag-Goose and Pink-footed Goose.
Pictures of geese from Mykines