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Farmer’s Diary: Saving myself a small fortune on the farm

In this week’s Sheep Farmer’s Diary, Clodagh Hughes discusses weather, preparing for lambing 2022 and making progress. 

Well, folks, after a lovely sunny start to the week here, the rains came down hard and fast over the last couple of days.

I got caught out a bit as I was not expecting quite a quantity of the wet stuff in such a short space of time.

Due to these rainy deluges, I ended up having to move feeders and mineral buckets a couple of times as the ground around them was becoming so mucked up and waterlogged; if I did not attend to the situation, I would be asking for foot troubles.

With the weather being so humid and mild all October, the conditions are still very favourable for nasty little bugs to be active enough to cause foot diseases such as scald.

And after so much effort on my behalf to keep my foot issues at a bare minimum in my flock, I am determined not to undo this good work.

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By carrying out simple tasks such as; regularly moving feeders, you can reduce foot problems, and the ground is not getting ‘poached’ by the animal’s hooves.

Advantages of keeping sheep

With their smaller hooves and lighter weights, sheep do not cause as much damage as cattle or horses as you can imagine.

This is yet another great thing about keeping sheep. You can leave them out at grass for as long as you have ground available and the weather is not too wintery.

Even then, sheep with their self-grown ‘winter woollies’ can out winter through fairly harsh conditions, as long as they have adequate food and shelter.

I am delighted with having acquired more acreage this year, meaning; I can leave my breeding ewes out at grass for much longer than in previous years.

Checking my records from last year, I saw that this time 12 months ago, I was already feeding my ewes hay and considering housing them!

Whereas this year, I am saving myself a small fortune on the cost of hay and the extra labour involved in hauling it around the farm!

Also, I can finish the rest of my lambs on grass (with small meal rations twice daily).

Lambing season 2022 and hedge-cutting  

I will be getting hay and straw soon from my local contractor to prepare for lambing season next February/March.

However, this is a major positive development for me and my small farm business in the grand scheme of things.

We got a hedge cutter in to tidy up some overgrown hedgerows recently.

We only got them faced as I love to leave my hedgerows as natural and wild as I can. There is a lot of tidying up to be done, though!

As I sat down to write this article, I thought I’d struggle to meet my word limit, but after a quick reflection on my farming week,  I found I had plenty to talk about.

It goes to show that, although some days you feel like you do not achieve much, unbeknownst to yourself, you are quite busy and productive.

Remember, the clocks go back, folks!

Further reading

Read more of Clodagh’s sheep diary entries.

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