In this week’s Farmer’s Diary, sheep farmer, Clodagh Hughes, discusses sleep deprivation during lambing 2021, watery mouth, spreading pig slurry and sheepdog training.
Farm life is so full of ups and downs that it can seem like a real rollercoaster journey with many twists and turns along the way.
After a disappointing start to last week, this week has been the complete opposite in all respects.
I had four ewes lamb over the weekend, with a total of seven lambs between them. As I was concerned about why I should be losing lambs recently, I consulted my vets for advice. They are always at the end of the phone and go above and beyond to help at Farney Vets, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan.
They suggested a product to give orally very soon after birth to help eliminate a condition called watery mouth.
It is a bacterial infection that is fatal to young lambs as it attacks the newborn’s undeveloped immune system.
Farmers can treat it if caught in time, but as with most flock issues, prevention is better than cure; this is an important lesson I have learned this year, in particular.
I also got to spend a whole night in my own bed on Sunday, and it was just fabulous, short-lived, but fabulous!
I watched one of my ewes since early Monday morning as she showed all the classic signs of lambing that I have become so familiar with. After a long night of checks and a kip on the couch, she lambed down two lovely, healthy lambs at 5 am this morning.
She is another of my own home-bred ewes and new to this lambing malarkey. So, as with all my first-timers, I was on full alert should any issues arise, but she was fantastic and lambed down herself.
The lambs, a ram and a ewe lamb, were so vigorous, and within minutes, the wee ewe was trying to get up and suckle, whereas the wee ram was a little slower off the mark.
Elsewhere on the farm, as spring has well and truly sprung, it was time I started to organise my grassland management for the busy season ahead.
Furthemore, I contacted my local agri contractors, Pat, and Gavin Duffy Agri Contractors, Inniskeen, County Monaghan and arranged to spread some quality, local pig slurry.
Apart from its delicate fragrance, Pig slurry is an invaluable source of nitrogen, which is essential for optimum grass growth after a harsh winter season.
It promotes grass growth as the temperatures start to rise at this time of year, and if I get it right this grass season, I could save myself, and the environment, on the amount of chemical fertilisers I apply.
My sheepdog training has taken a real hit recently as I have been otherwise occupied. I have noticed some of my good work with the pups becoming undone.
But now, as I am starting to get back on track with lambing, I will be able to focus more on them.
Happy Paddy’s day!
More farmer updates
You can read more of Clodagh Hughes’ farm updates here.