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Farmer’s Diary: Out with the old and in with the new

In this week’s Farmer’s Diary, Clodagh Hughes discusses selling some of her foundation females, virtual marts and a lambing case, involving a hogget, which required veterinary assistance.  

I finally bit the bullet and sold four of my older ewes at Kingscourt mart, Co Cavan, on Monday last.

It was bittersweet, folks; you see, these were four of my original wee flock of 13 that I started with in 2016.

Thanks to them, I have learned so much about sheep, and they have given me some fabulous lambs, some of which I have kept and run in my current flock.

I must explain briefly why we must sell on these ewes. It is because they are no longer a viable contributor to the flock, usually because they have developed mastitis and no longer produce milk, perhaps there is a glitch in the breeding line, or they are too old.

Although I have my business cap resolutely secure on my head, occasionally, my emotional cap slips down, and it can be a real battle between head and heart.

Anyway, they are gone, and I know I have made the right decision, plus it will be easier next time!

I want to thank all the mart staff at Kingscourt who look after our animals and are always so helpful and friendly. It has been a very different experience for all farmers and buyers as we cannot be present at our sales due to Covid-19 restrictions.

But the use of online mart apps has made the selling and buying of animals possible to continue. Although sometimes virtual marts may not be ideal, it has at least kept the trade alive. Special shoutout to Nigel, the auctioneer, who always looks after me!

Reflection

There’s something about the highs and lows of farming livestock that I am drawn to. I do not know what it says about me, the fact that I love it so much.

It’s either highs or lows with sheep farming; there’s rarely a happy medium when you have no stress-related incidents on-farm.

And yet, I have zero regrets with my decisions and experiences since I started my flock in 2016.

Of course, I have learned new skills and experienced losses and disappointments I did not think I could recover from, but you do, and I believe I am a better farmer and person for it.

sheep, sheep farming, sheep farmer, farm girl

Lambing hoggets

Even though my main flock finished lambing on March 16th, I had five hoggets/one-year-old-ewes, which were still to lamb.

They need a little extra care and attention due to their age and size.  It is only the second time I have lambed young ewes, and I do not think I will do it again as I prefer to lamb them at two-years-old.

Luckily, they have lambed with lovely healthy lambs, bar my last girl, who I had to get my vet out to assist her.

Thanks to Ciaran Murray from Farney vets, Carrickmacross, I would not have a fab ewe lamb and happy mother without him.

Guys, I nearly forgot… my wee hen hatched two gorgeous chicks yesterday! How cute are they?

chickens, poultry,

You can find more of Clodagh’s sheep farming updates here.

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