Business Farming

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Purebred flock wiped out in night

Published 11/11/2015 | 02:30

Cork farmer Tim Kelleher saw years of careful sheep breeding disappear overnight when his flock of purebred Zwartbles was destroyed in a single attack by two dogs.

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It also hit his pocket hard as Tim is out by thousands of euro for the destruction caused on the midsummer night. Yet it is emotional impact that hit the hardest as the family remains traumatised by the event.

He has been breeding sheep since he was a teenager growing up on his father's beef enterprise outside Macroom and later going on to rent land to build a flock of sheep.

On the night of the attack, there were 20 Zwartbles and their prize winning ram, along with commercial sheep on the land.

"It was an awful sight. Sheep were killed and injured all over the place and there was blood everywhere. Sheep were on their back badly injured and in one case a ewe broke through a gate on the farm leaving her shape on the timber," he said with a €1,000 ram destined for an All-Ireland competition dead, eight pedigree ewes killed and more injured.

The part-time farmer, who also works in the post office in Macroom, said the dog owners were later traced and were absolutely devastated and shocked to find out what had happened. Both dogs were later put down.

Tim said the family cannot bear to think about that night.

He told how he was so upset that he couldn't shoot the sheep with devastating injuries and had to call a neighbour.

On the positive side both Tim and his partner have celebrated the arrival of a healthy baby and he has bought two replacement purebred Zwartbles at the mart recently. He said he spent €1,000 and €700 of his own money as they are still working with the insurance assessors on the claim.

However, he has made the first step but believes it will be a long process to establish his purebred herd.

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