In this week’s Farmer’s Diary, sheep farmer, Clodagh Hughes discusses a lack of shed space this lambing season.
Another week has passed and as the saying goes “time heals all ills”. Although not entirely accurate, at least the passing of time helps you get over losses and bad experiences.
So, after a stressful and disappointing week just gone, I am heading into a new one with so much to do to prepare for my fast-approaching lambing season that my head is spinning!
The main issue on my wee farm is shed space, or rather, the lack thereof. This can mean shuffling pens, feeders, and animals around throughout the year to avail of the space I have and at no other time is this more significant than at lambing.
I spent a good half hour yesterday standing in the shed at different locations to see how I could capitalise on the space I do have.
Now, if I’m to be totally honest with myself, I didn’t foresee having to house Gorsey the Horsey when the weather turned nasty and having to restrict his access to the fields due to his big, giant feet tearing it up was another naive oversight on my behalf. However, I wouldn’t give him away for the all the spuds in Ireland… he is well and truly one of the flock!
Less space than last year for lambing
This means I’m left with less space than last year come lambing time, and as I stood in the shed and scratched my head, trying to motivate some dormant grey matter, I did see, that by rearranging my lambing area I could make it work.
I have accumulated a few more hurdles/gates, which I can set up in different locations around the shed as either lambing or bonding pens as and when my ewes start lamb down.
The other essential space I will need to have is a pen for all my surplus lambs. As my girls are expecting so many multiple lambs, it is inevitable that I shall be hand-rearing a fair number of them.
For this to be successful, I need to provide a clean, safe, and comfortable area for the wee lambs to play and bond with their adoptive siblings. And most importantly, that they will thrive and grow into strong, healthy lambs.
‘Pup Date’ time folks…
Peadar and Finn are coming on so well and learning so fast I can hardly keep up with them. But this week, I had to make a tough decision and put a muzzle on Peadar as he has become far too aggressive with the sheep and hens.
He will grab onto the sheep’s fleece and hang out of it until he actually pulls it from the animal. This is a major no-no and I needed to nip it in the bud immediately. I have already noticed him much calmer and sitting down to take in the situation.
It is only used as a training aid and he can still pant and take a drink with it on. Finn has really come out of his shell and his confidence around the sheep gets better each day.
Read more of Clodagh’s diary updates here.