Clodagh Hughes runs a sheep enterprise on the Monaghan/Louth border near Inniskeen; she is That’s Farming’s newest contributor and will provide an insight into her farm on a weekly basis.
Finally got my ladies shorn this week and as I’d said previously, I was anxious to get them done due to the risk of them becoming cast over (stuck on their backs) or having issues with flies in dirty fleeces.
But boy, I wasn’t expecting our delightful Irish weather to change so dramatically, it’s no wonder we’re always talking about it! 2 days after shearing in sweltering conditions and a storm hits!
Luckily, I had the sheep on pasture close to the house where there is great natural shelter provided by mature hedgerow because we got a bit of everything; gusty gale-force wind, rain and cooler temperatures. I was half expecting to see the sheep trying to put their fleeces back on!
Unfortunately, due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic, the price of sheep’s wool is extremely poor for 2020 and after a few bad years this is proving very difficult for Irish sheep farmers to take.
To be completely honest with you guys; it’ll cost way more to shear the sheep than their actual fleece is worth.
Personally speaking, I shall hold onto my wool, for this year at least, in the hope that things would improve in 2021, but this is far from practicable for many others with much larger flocks as storage space is a significant issue.
On one of my routine checks earlier in the week I noticed a ram lamb that had suddenly become very lame. He was really dragging his left hind leg and I actually had an “oh crap” moment thinking it was a fracture as the leg looked like it was hanging loose from the hip joint.
After catching and giving him a thorough examination, I was happy there was no fracture, he was definitely sore but could put weight on the leg and proved this quite convincingly when he tried to escape from me…twice!
Last year I had 2 lambs with similar issues and after seeking my vet’s advice, I successfully nursed them back to full health. So, I applied the same treatment to this lamb and he’s now back running amok with his buddies.
You may remember I still had a second dose of a vaccination to give my lambs, well this I did when they were all gathered in for shearing.
Growing lambs can be very susceptible to disease and illness during periods of stress, such as weaning but also changeable weather believe it or not! And we’ve had some seriously changeable weather recently so, I’m a happier shepherdess knowing that they are soon fully covered.
In un-sheep related news, my new hens have really settled in and are laying away, they’ve settled in so well they’re laying wherever they want, the joys of free-range. I’ve actually been thinking of putting up an honesty box at the bottom of our lane as I have a surplus of eggs, you never know it might be a wee earner.
Till next week…bye and be good.