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.
Bad day at the office…Well I guess it can’t all be about cute lambs and sunny spring days!
As I write this, have a lamb on my lap, that I’ve been nursing back to health this 2 weeks, and it is doing it’s very best to die on me.
Then, to add insult to injury, I’ve just come back from my local animal disposal yard after losing a good young ewe to acute mastitis that I thought I’d caught in time but, unfortunately, she didn’t make it.
As I’m a relative newbie to sheep farming, I still procrastinate over when and when not to call on the vet.
Like any farmer, I try my very best to employ as much practical nursing and common-sense management to an animal as I can. Unfortunately, sometimes it just isn’t enough.
I studied veterinary nursing for a few years and worked in a couple of large animal vet practices where I picked up some very useful animal husbandry skills and a good basic veterinary knowledge which has stood to me since I began my ovine adventure 4 years ago.
I know you can’t save them all, but on this occasion, I regret not calling the professionals in sooner as this was my first case of acute mastitis and I’ll always wonder did I do enough!
I now have a fine big ram lamb of this ewes to hand rear and ensure he doesn’t fail on me. He’s already slotted in with my wee gang of surplus lambs.
As I’ve written this article over 2 days, I’m sorry to say I’ve more bad news, my wee lamb passed away literally in my arms!
It may sound cruel to some of you and others will understand when I say that it was actually a relief the wee mite did go because, no matter how tough I may be at times, it breaks my heart to see them hanging on by a thread.
In this instance, I am content I did all I could for wee Mickey the lamb.
Now I hope I’ve not upset anybody too much, because that is farming and nature can be such a cruel mistress at times (must change that expression, me being a woman and all!)
Thankfully, farm life is so busy and varied that you’re soon distracted by other animals that need your help and jobs that need doing.
And, in more positive news, my ewe lamb with the small umbilical hernia has really improved, but to err on the side of caution I’m going to leave the bandage on for another week.
On a happier note folks, I’m enjoying some new hens as they settle in on the farm and the cute antics of a lovely wee chick one of my own hens hatched, not to mention all the lovely healthy lambs frolicking in the fields.
Happy Easter and chat soon!