Clodagh Hughes runs a sheep enterprise on the Monaghan/Louth border near Inniskeen- here is this week’s update:
Great news folks, I picked up my lovely new Rouge ram off Hugh Connor from the Royal County and I am very happy with him.
As I have talked about before, I wanted to introduce a new bloodline into my flock and had chosen this breed after doing my research.
This ram is a pedigree Rouge and is registered with the Irish Rouge Sheep Society based in Co. Cavan.
Hugh is a registered breeder of these sheep and imparted with so much information on all things sheep I could have stayed for hours talking to him.
So, my lovely new ram, his full title is Woodfield, Woody for short. He is a hogget ram, meaning he is over one-year-old, and he ran with some ewes last year, so he has breeding experience.
Vaccine for Toxoplasmosis
I made a bad time calculation regarding an important vaccine I need to administer to my ewes. I should have ordered it sooner as I have left it that I cannot introduce the ram as soon as I’d like.
Toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease in sheep and humans that can result in abortion or stillbirth. It is one of those wee nasties that can survive in the environment for 18 months or more in cool moist conditions, sound like anywhere you know?!
It is most commonly transmitted by the ingestion of infected cat poop; yes, our lovely furry puddy cats!
The sheep can pick it up at pasture or in the shed if an infected cat has been around.
I regularly treat my cat, TomTom, but there are plenty of wildcats about the fields and you just never know.
It is an expensive vaccine but once given you have greater peace of mind and in the long run a much-reduced risk of losing lambs which would cost a lot more.
High roundworm count
I had my lambs in this week for their worm dose. My faecal test results from the lab showed a relatively high roundworm count, which is not uncommon in young growing lambs – especially after they have grazed pasture that the adults had been on.
After consulting with my vets, McCourt and Murray of Carrickmacross, I was advised on which product to use and it turned out to be quite inexpensive and already those dirty bums have dried up nicely.
Along with giving a cobalt mineral drench, I expect to see good thrive from now on. I am still learning so much and alongside vaccines and good feed.
I have realised the importance of providing all my animals and birds with the correct mineral and nutritional supplements.
Interestingly, the soil in different parts of the country can be higher or lower in trace elements and minerals needed for good growth and animal health.
There is another important assessment I must carry out, get my soil tested and this will help me when it comes to choosing fertilisers and knowing what my ground is deficient in.