In this week’s Farmer’s Diary, Clodagh Hughes reflects on the festive period, discusses her flock’s scanning results and preparing for lambing 2022.
Well, that’s it all over, folks; bar the recycling of wrapping paper and finding bits of glitter everywhere for a month!
Honestly, I am not a big Christmas fan. I do believe it is a great time for children and families to re-connect, but, personally, I do not celebrate it.
Clodagh’s sheep diary
However, as I mentioned in my last entry, I get quite excited about my ewe’s pregnancy scanning results. This year’s results have been as good as ever.
My girls have done me proud, not to mention Mr Woody the ram!
Every last one of my ewes is in lamb and true to form, there are a large amount carrying multiples, amongst which I have; a number of quads, triplets, a lot of twins, and the rest are singles.
These numbers will differ at lambing time, as not all of these wee lambs will survive the births.
I will inevitably lose some within the first 24/48 hours of birth as this is a very high-risk period for neonates.
Losses and workload
And guys, I know I keep repeating myself when I say: I take every loss very hard. However, I have come to accept that it is, unfortunately, part and parcel of sheep farming.
And, as long as I know I am doing my very best at all times, I can accept these losses.
One thing for definite is that I will be kept extremely busy with my ‘surplus lamb club’.
My ewes will only be able to rear 1-2 lambs comfortably, so, even with losses at lambing time, I will still have lots of lambs to hand rear on throughout the spring until they’re ready to be weaned.
I will need to buy at least one more automatic bucket milk feeder to help make my life a bit easier.
The types I use are a really simple, yet effective design, and when maintained correctly, they last through each lambing season and are a huge help to this sheep farmer!
Preparing the shed and equipment
I have to get a wriggle on with preparing the shed soon. I have nearly all my lambing stuff gathered up.
Also, loser to the time, I will clean and sterilise any feeding equipment etc.
I might treat myself to a few more hurdles/gates that are very useful anytime when working with sheep.
In other news, my daily routine is not too taxing at the moment although, because all my animals are still out in the fields, I have to cart hay and meal through serious muck and mire due to all the rain recently.
Now, I am not complaining!
As you all know, I am delighted to be able to have them out still, but like everything in life, there are pros and cons.
It will keep me fit at the very least. Although, I must confess, I have landed on my butt more times than I would like to admit because of slipping in the muck…usually while carrying buckets of water that will end up spilling on me! You can have that one for free!
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