In her latest weekly Farm Diary, sheep farmer, Clodagh Hughes discusses saving hay, her flock’s health, cobalt deficient land and selling a batch of lambs at the mart.
Well, folks, I am delighted to report that this year’s hay harvest has been a success and is safely tucked away in the shed, ready for use over the winter months.
I really feel as though myself and himself have achieved something good this summer by saving our first harvest.
Anytime I go into the shed now, the sweet grassy smell greets me and reminds me that all the hard work, and blisters, were worth it.
My wee farm is quiet these past few weeks, although; I have had both the lambs and my breeding ewes in for checks and dosing.
Minerals and vitamins for sheep
I learned over the last few years what minerals and vitamins are important to give to sheep, depending on their requirements.
For example, growing lambs will have different dietary needs than adult sheep, and similarly, ewes heavy in lamb or nursing new lambs will have specific nutritional needs.
Vitamin B12 and the trace element cobalt are important for ruminants. Sheep, cattle and goats need cobalt in their diets to efficiently utilise the vitamin B12 in their diets.
B12 is essential for growth, energy metabolism and the production of red blood cells.
I know from previous tests on the farm that the soil in my area is cobalt deficient, so; I need to keep on top of my sheep’s dietary needs by regularly drenching (oral dosing) them.
Next year, I want to use these vitamins and minerals in bolus form as they cut out the need for regular dosing due to the slow-release nature of the product.
But, I will keep going as I am this year, as I recently spent a lot of money on a vet-recommended oral dose, but it will keep.
Selling lambs at the mart
A trip to mart last Monday saw another welcomed cheque arrive in the post.
I went with my best ram lambs, and, although prices were down on the previous week, I was happy with the results.
Also, I got some compliments on my lambs which is important to me.
I strive to produce the best product I can, and to get even a little recognition from more experienced sheep farmers is very encouraging.
Horse and poultry
I did tell you guys about losing some hens to the mink a few weeks back, did not I?
Well, it is time I went and restocked my flock as I am missing my eggs. My two remaining hens are getting on a wee bit, and there are days I am only getting one egg.
I want to get a few different breeds this time as there are so many lovely hen varieties to choose from.
Gorgeous Gorsey the horsey is doing grand, although, he seems to be getting it harder to bulk up this summer.
I have bought a different feed for him; it is designed especially for senior horses, and I have just introduced it to his diet, so here’s hoping it will help.
He could also do with a mineral supplement to boost his system.
I think that’s us all caught up for now.
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