In this week’s Farmer’s Diary, That’s Farming contributor, sheep farmer, Clodagh Hughes, reflect on her five-year farming journey.
I hate to point it out, folks, but the summer is flying by!
Whilst doing some routine paperwork last night, and updating my farm calendar, I found myself marking in tupping dates.
I was not so much shocked by how fast time had flown by, more surprised by how well my farming year had gone so far in 2021, and it led me to reflect a little on my farming journey so far.
As I have explained before, I have been gradually building up my farming enterprise from scratch over the last 4/5 years.
With a few more acres and larger numbers of sheep on the holding this year, my work load and responsibilities have also increased.
However, in some instances, this year has gone better than others, especially around lambing due to the fact that I now have four full lambing seasons under my shepherd’s cap.
I have learned so much from other sheep farmers, either face to face or via social media, from my vets, and above all, from being 100% hands-on and having to learn pretty darn fast on the hoof, so to speak.
Something my vet said to me in my first year of keeping sheep which has stuck with me even now as I do a routine check in the fields or have a sick/injured animal to tend to, was, “You’ll get to know what’s normal and what’s not”. Meaning, stop ringing me every time a sheep looks funny at you!
I jest, what he meant was that with time and experience, I would be able to tell the difference between issues that require veterinary attention and perhaps less serious concerns that I could deal with myself.
I am very lucky to be able to correspond with my vets to get advice over the phone, even if they are not free to call out.
Having studied veterinary nursing medicine for a couple of years, I have very good knowledge regarding the basics of animal care and husbandry.
Match this to my farming background and top it off with my absolute love of all things sheep and country, and what do you get?
That is right, a damn good wee farmer. And I can say this with confidence, this year above all years.
Right, that is enough self-indulgence before I scare you all away.
As I was about to say before I got sidetracked, it is nearly time to start planning the next phase on the sheep farming calendar, tupping season. I weaned all the lambs off ewes this week a little later than planned, but no harm done. This also gives my girls a good rest period to recover before going to the ram.
I treated the lambs for flystrike this week, but because of the torrential rain yesterday, I am afraid I will have to repeat the action as the product was all washed off their wool.
It is a bit of a waste of time and money…Check the forecast next time!
Read more of Clodagh’s updates.