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Farmer’s Diary: I feel like I am getting a proper handle on this sheep farming malarkey

In this week’s Farmer’s Diary, sheep farmer, Clodagh Hughes, discusses an emergency admission (a sick two-week-old ewe lamb), inclement weather conditions, update on her surplus lambs and planning shearing.

Okay, so the rain came, but holey moley with it came the return of some serious wintry conditions!

Bitterly cold winds and heavy hail, and sleet showers have really hampered my work around the farm over the last few days.

I am back wearing infinite layers of clothing similar to what I wore in the depths of winter, and all my aches and pains have been screaming at me.

According to Teagasc, for grass growth to really kick-off, we need an optimum soil temperature of 5 degrees Celsius at a soil depth of 10cm.

Now, I have not been out with my thermometer, but I know it’s nowhere near that yet.

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Things are to improve by the weekend, according to the weather forecast, so we live in hope.

sheep, sheep farming, sheep farmer, sheep

Sick ewe lamb

In other news, I had only gotten the back hall cleared of wee woolly patients when I had another emergency admission.

While doing a feed and check yesterday morning, I noticed a 2-week-old ewe lamb looking very poor in herself and separated from the flock.

On further examination, I could see that she was breathing very rapidly, and her heartbeat was also very high.

I could not risk leaving her in the field, especially with the weather being so inclement so, up to the house, she came.

I took her temperature, and as it was reading a bit high, this could indicate that she was trying to fight some form of infection.

I decided to treat her with antibiotics for respiratory issues and keep her inside for observation.

Over the coming hours, her temperature returned to normal. Although, she is not out of the woods just yet, her breathing has begun to regulate, and she in in good form.

If she recovers successfully, I will return her to her mother, who is obviously wondering where her lamb has gone.

It is hard to listen to them bawling, but ultimately, it is for their own good.

sheep, sheep farming, sheep farmers

Surplus lambs

In more positive news, I am delighted and slightly proud of myself with how well my surplus lambs are thriving this year.

I have learned so much in the last few seasons that I have been able to apply to this year’s lambing. I feel like I am getting a proper handle on this sheep farming malarkey!

Even though her placement is officially up, Laura (my ag student) loves spending time with the sheep and I so much that she has continued to come out to help when she is free.

Ewe lambs                                                

I may have mentioned previously that she has picked three lovely ewe lambs to take to her home farm to rear on.

She may retain them for breeding in the future. Although, I know they are going to a great home, I will miss them as I hand-reared them from birth.

I cannot believe it is time for me to contact my shearer. Although with the recent weather, my girls are glad they still have their woolly jumpers on!

sheep, sheep farming, sheep farmer,

Sheep farming

You can read more of Clodagh’s diary entries.

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