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Clodagh Hughes: Scanning rate of 2.3 lambs per ewe

Former professional chef, Clodagh Hughes, runs a sheep enterprise on the Monaghan/Louth border near Inniskeen.

Well, folks, Santy came early to me this year and has gifted me 30 big, lovely woolly wrapped ewes who are expecting lots of lambs from the last week of February onwards.

I had told you guys how anxious I was to get my ewes scanned. The ram’s harness had played up a bit this year and I’d not been able to monitor the marking process as accurately as I should have. Well, I needn’t have worried my head.

I’ve stuck with the same guy for my scanning because he’s very accurate, helpful and I always learn something from his visit. His name is Westley Breaden of Topscan Sheep Scanning Co. Monaghan. After the first few ewes went through his scanner, any fears were soon put to rest.

In fact, I now had other things to be worrying about…like how the hell I was going manage all the EXTRA lambs my girls were expecting!

Lambing 2021                                                

Are you ready now? Here comes the maths:

  • 4 expecting one lamb;
  • 15 expecting twins;
  • 6 expecting triplets;
  • 2 expecting 4 lambs;
  • And finally, at least one carrying 5 and 2 others with either 4/5 lambs.

That’s up on 70 lambs!

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Now, for those of you who may not be au fait with the breeding habits of sheep, this is a considerable haul for any flock.

As a guideline, 1.8% per ewe is deemed a good figure (that means approx. 1.8 live lambs born).

As you can see in the picture from the scanner above, my flock has achieved way over this at 2.3%. You have to factor in the inevitable losses during and after lambing time, but this is still really good numbers for my wee flock.

My sheep are very prolific, and most importantly, Mr Woody was obviously well capable. This bodes well as I go into next year knowing I bought a good ram. It’ll be interesting to see how much of the Rouge breed comes through in the lambs next year.

Empty ewe

Unfortunately, one ewe was empty, and this is a mystery as she lambed fine for me 3-years-in a-row. This is just a fact of nature, and you can’t do much about it.

I may have to sell her on. Many larger flocks would remove any ewes that didn’t come into lamb as they are seen as freeloaders, and in a business sense, they very much are.

This is where you have to overrule your heart with your head, or you’d never make a penny.

So, really as you can tell, it’s all about the scanning this week. I have to get a load of hay into the loft this week before I can take in the ewes as the ground isn’t fit for them anymore, and it needs resting.

Everything else is motoring along ok; I have a bit to do to set up the shed for the girls but, I’m hoping to have them housed before next week.

Festive good wishes to one and all.

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