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My husband heard loud shots and dog barking coming from the farthest field where my lambs are

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Clodagh Hughes runs a sheep enterprise on the Monaghan/Louth border near Inniskeen- here is this week’s update:

There is a saying that ‘only for bad luck I’d have no luck at all’! Now, this is not entirely true, but it just about sums up the tone for this week on the farm.

I ended last week’s article with one very lame lamb but discovered another one 2 days later; I took her up to the ‘sick bay’ as it’s much easier to keep an eye on them and to administer any treatments.

This other lamb had a severely swollen hind hoof and it really looked as if it could burst, I was going to lance it but just wasn’t totally sure it would be the right thing to do so after bathing it and a short course of antibiotics with rest, she is much improved and is ready to return to her buddies.

Planned visit to vets

Unfortunately, my lamb with the hock injury has not improved and will be visiting the vet later today (Monday) as I am afraid it may be a fracture.

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The swelling had reduced significantly and this allowed me to have a gentle feel of the joint, but on doing so I could feel an unnatural crinkle in the joint and she has not put any weight on it now for over a week. I will let you know the outcome next week.

As usual, I’m kicking myself for not getting the vet involved sooner but, this is a real battle of the conscience for farmers because you simply can’t run to the vet every single time an animal presents with an injury or an ailment.

As farmers, we will try everything in our own arsenal to help and heal the animal ourselves and a lot of the time you are successful with the patient making a full recovery.

My vets, McCourt & Murray in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan are brilliant, and they will always give you advice over the phone.

Incident involved large hunting dog

Sunday morning, I had fed and checked everyone, and all was calm.

2 hours later, my husband heard loud shots and dog barking coming from the farthest field where my lambs are.

We flew down and he chased a large hunting dog out of the field.

By this stage, all the lambs were huddled at the gate except for one lamb that had become separated and who I can only describe as being paralysed with fright.

I rang my vets and within 20 minutes we met him at the clinic. This lamb was literally dying from shock. The vet treated her for shock and within 10 minutes she was improving!

Part of a farmer’s job is to provide the best care to their livestock and it’s something most farmers take very seriously, so seriously that we’ll lose hours of sleep tending to a sick animal, spend money perhaps we shouldn’t and feel guilty if we’re away from the farm for long.

Therefore, incidents such as the above are unacceptable.

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