Farmer’s Diary: Being busy is best…


Life goes on, especially farm life, writes sheep farmer, Clodagh Hughes.

Farmer’s Diary: Being busy is best…

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  • 29 days ago

Life goes on, especially farm life, writes sheep farmer, Clodagh Hughes.

Life goes on, especially farm life, as animals need to be minded, checked, fed, and watered and as the seasons change different tasks need undertaking.

It’s been a busy week on my wee farm, and in the best way, this was great as it took my mind off losing my poor old pooch.

Treating lambs

The latest task I needed to carry out was to treat my growing lambs against the attack of the dreaded fly…I have learned the hard way, as usual, that prevention is so much better than cure with many things sheep related and none more so than the prevention of a case of flystrike on an animal.

I did have a case on a lamb, which I covered in an earlier article, so I shan’t bore you with the details but suffice it to say, it’s a horrible affliction on the animal and can prove fatal if not treated.

There was a time when all sheep would be submerged in a tank containing a liquid formulation combining an insecticide and a fungicide that would blanket treat the animals for infestations from external parasites such as flies, ticks and lice.

And although this practice is still carried out, it must be done by a licenced operator as the products used are highly toxic to the environment and to humans. There are a number of safety protocols in place for these reasons.

As a small farmer it wouldn’t pay me to engage the services of a sheep dipper but, thankfully, there are great products available to farmers from your local vet or agristore.

I use a product that you spray along the sheep’s back in 3 swipes and this covers the most vulnerable areas such as their woolly butts, the real business end!

Withdrawal periods

When using any veterinary product, you MUST read and follow the instructions, especially when farming animals that will enter the human food chain it is imperative that you abide by the rules.

For example, the spray I used on the adults has a longer withdrawal period and this is fine as I won’t be selling any of my breeding ewes.

Whereas I hope to be selling some lambs within the next 4/5 weeks, therefore, I used a spray with a much shorter withdrawal time frame; this means there will be no residue of the product left in the animal.

A golden rule

I take these issues seriously as I take great pride in my lambs and as a relative newbie to sheep farming, I want to build up a good name for myself and my sheep. We are our own brand.

It’s a golden rule I’ve adopted that whenever you have the sheep gathered in, you do everything you need to or can do at that time!

So, along with treating against bugs I treated a few minor cuts from head-butts and a couple had a slight infection between their hooves, enter magic blue spray (antibiotic spray). I also checked body condition.

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