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Farmer’s Diary: ‘It was a relief to see the vet and get a thorough examination’

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

This week has been a busy and varied one. Between shepherding duties and animal nursing obligations, I have been flat to the mat.

The pups were coming on a treat learning basic commands until, unfortunately for Peadar, this meant learning the hard way that you can’t walk under a big draft horse in case he stands on you.

This is exactly what happened and of course, it was my fault. I took my eye off them for a minute and next thing, I hear shrieks of pain.  As quick as I could, I moved Gorsey back and picked up Peadar, still screaming in pain.

Vets

My heart was in my mouth at this stage folks.  I settled him in my coat and when he was calmer, I rang my vets and scheduled an appointment.

They got me in as soon as they could and, even by the time we were heading in the road, I knew wee pup was not as bad as I initially thought.

But it was a relief to see the vet and get a thorough examination.  No x-ray was required, and we were sent home with some pain relief medicine and strict instructions for bed rest. The pup that is not me, although by this stage I needed a bloody good lie down!

The pup’s recovery is going really well. The hardest part is poor Finn does not understand why he cannot play with his buddy.

I have had to take them back into the hall for ease of minding after getting them settled outside in their pen. I do not mind as I am just so relieved there’s no permanent damage.

15-year-old Muttley

As for my senior dog, Muttley, he gave me one heck of a scare last week, and although it’s still going to be extremely tough when the time comes to say goodbye, I feel strangely at peace with the situation now.

He is at least 15-years-old and has had a great life with us; he’s not in any pain at the moment and his tail is still wagging.  He can get out for his toilet and is eating small amounts, so we are just going to enjoy him for what time we have left.

All ewes mated

Back on the ranch, the ram has been in 5 weeks now and unless my calculations are wrong, I think all my ewes have been mated at this stage.

The next big job will be to arrange scanning; this is always an anxious time as you hope all your ewes are in-lamb.

It’s something I did my first year and will continue to do as it’s a fantastic help to the shepherd when it comes to implementing feeding plans depending on how many lambs a ewe is expecting.

Scanning time is also a good time to assess each ewe’s body condition and I may give them a mineral drench too.

I am looking forward to college on Thursday as we have been given permission to travel. We are going to be tested on a few practical skills…wish me luck!

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