Former professional chef, Clodagh Hughes, runs a sheep enterprise on the Monaghan/Louth border near Inniskeen.
They say a week in politics is a long time, equally so in farming!
A lot can change in seven days and thankfully for the better in my case. After a rough few weeks with relentless rainfall, an injured pup (pup is fine now), putting my old dog to sleep and generally not feeling the best myself, things have finally taken a positive turn.
I was in a bit of a personal rut recently and now that that is lifted, I have got my mojo back, things can start happening again.
I have done more wee jobs in the last 5 days than I did in the last month! And I’ve plenty more to do.
I got my adult ewes dosed against fluke and attended to a few minor foot issues which is par for the course with keeping sheep I am afraid. I have it under control and any foot problems that occur in my flock are usually very manageable.
The trick is to catch them early, as soon as you spot a lame sheep, treat it as soon as you can and almost all cases will improve significantly within 24 hours.
Usually, a good cleaning of the offending hoof and a blast of antibiotic spray will suffice. Obviously, any persistent cases may need further treatment and only as a last resort do I administer injectable antibiotics.
Speaking of feet, I have been wearing wellies more than my work boots out in the fields with the rain and muck recently.
Now, the pros are that wellies allow you to venture where very few humans can go without the appropriate foot attire.
The major con for me is, that when an 80 plus kg sheep decides to ignore where your feet are and places all her woolly weight on the top of your unprotected foot, it tends to result in some very choice language and a very, very bruised foot.
I need to invest in a good pair of steel-toed wellies, but do you know what guys! Even with proper footwear, sheep still manage to completely squish the part of your foot that is not protected!
Clean Livestock Policy
I still have a few lambs to sell at mart. Due to the recent restrictions and weather being so bad, I’ve decided to hold off for another week or two.
It really won’t do much harm except for the extra meal I’m feeding them. These are the breaks with farming sometimes you do lose a profit margin through no fault of your own. I also need to clean them up.
Furthermore, the Department of Agriculture has a Clean Livestock Policy in place that ensures farmers do not sell animals that are overly dirty. This is important in reducing the risks of contamination entering other flocks and the food chain and encourages farmers to maintain good clean livestock practices on-farm.
Finally, this week, I’ve organised to have enough hay and straw supplies for the winter/spring so that’s a big relief.