Clodagh Hughes runs a sheep enterprise on the Monaghan/Louth border near Inniskeen; she is That’s Farming’s newest contributor and will provide an insight into her farm on a weekly basis.
When I started my flock in 2017, I sought advice from my vets on a basic health plan for my sheep, vaccination recommendations, worming doses, foot care etc.
I wanted to avoid spending a fortune on products that the sheep did not need, plus observing the sensible use of antibiotics and wormers.
As in human medicine, over or improper use of antibiotics and parasite products, allows the micro-organisms to build up a resistance and it is known that these wee devils are developing immunity faster than mankind can invent new medicines!
Also, it is beneficial to our own health. So, in light of this, I try to be responsible in the use of any product on my farm.
I vaccinate against common diseases in sheep such as pneumonia. And a serious thing that can cause abortion in pregnant ewes, especially if there are cats around the farm, called toxoplasmosis.
It can be contracted by a sheep if she accidentally consumed cat faeces in meal, for example. It can also cause abortion in women, so they are strongly advised to avoid being hands-on at lambing time.
My handsome farmhand, aka the husband Alan, and I gathered everyone in and gave a primary shot of 2ml under the skin to each of the lambs.
This needs to be repeated in less than 6 weeks to ensure full immunity to the diseases covered and then an annual booster for any sheep kept on-farm.
Like everything in life, there is no 100% solution but it gives great peace of mind and lives are saved.
Slightly infected navels
Because sheep are so easy to catch in the field, not, you take any gathering as an opportunity to check over everyone, feet, teeth, ewe’s udders.
We caught a couple of slightly infected navels on lambs. A wee check and a blast of magic blue spray, this what I call the antibiotic spray farmers use, it’ll cure nearly everything… within reason ha-ha!
Occasionally, the odd sheep or lamb might develop a reaction at the injection site, no matter how sterile you are, and this can manifest as a dirty boil. I had one such lamb, which out of 44, is not bad.
In other news, I got my sheep out onto new pasture which happened just in time, because folks don’t hate me; we need rain…because the grass is not growing.
I’m not alone, farmers, gardeners stick up for me here!!!
I know how lucky I am to live in the country and have the space to be free and busy in these terrible times and genuinely feel for those who are cut off from family and friends.
I hope you are all coping ok with your lot, whatever it may be.