In this week’s Farmer’s Diary, sheep farmer, Clodagh Hughes, discusses her growing flock and a lame ram lamb.
I thought I would have my sheep sheared by now, folks, but, unfortunately, that did not go to plan, and with the way the weather has been lately, it is not the end of the world.
But, I have another man’s number, and he is more local to me.
There are certain things related to sheep farming that are a little more challenging when you do not have a very big flock.
And, I fully understand why. A lot of sheep vaccines, oral drenches and topical spray products come in quite large quantities due to the average size of a flock being between 100-150.
Now, I am a little under this, but, as my flock has increased in the last two years, it has become a little more affordable for me to treat my animals.
Before this, I would have had leftover medicines or products. On certain occasions, I was able to share some of the financial burden with a friend of mine who keeps sheep.
However, as I say, with my own numbers rising year on year, I am able to fit into the range of most sheep products. This means; less money spent and less waste.
So, when it comes to shearing sheep, naturally, larger numbers are more appealing to those doing the shearing.
Luckily for me, though, there are a few lads around who are able to fit me into their very busy schedule at this time of year.
My two ewes that I treated last week for fly-strike are well recovered, and it was well worth the hassle of putting them all through the footbath, as I have seen a big improvement in any feet issues that were present.
Lame ram lamb
I did catch a very lame ram lamb in the field a couple of days ago. I had been watching him, and as he was not improving, I had to act.
He had no obvious scald between his hoofs, no heat in any joints and didn’t appear in any pain when I manipulated each joint (we all know how good they hide pain), but there was definitely something not right.
So, I took him up to the yard in the jeep and put him in a small pen I have at the house for sick sheep. I was about to close a gate when he took off like a wee woolly rocket! I mean galloped off!
After a game of ‘cat and mouse, I nabbed him with my trusty shepherd’s crook.
I carried out a thorough examination but still no obvious ailment. I gave him treatment and a multi-vitamin dose, as he was a bit light.
Two days on, and he has much improved. My ‘expert’ diagnosis was that he possibly sustained a bang to his hip. He is putting weight on all four legs now.
It is coming near weaning time, and I use the guideline of 90-100 days post-lambing.
To be honest, my ewes have practically weaned their lambs at this stage.
That will be a noisy couple of days, but it is all part of it.