Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Sheep: Maggots, scald and shearing - sunny days are here again!

The Phelan family harvesting silage at Clogh, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny - Larry driving the harvester, with Harry in the John Deere and James in the New Holland. Photo: Alf Harvey/HRPhoto.ie
The Phelan family harvesting silage at Clogh, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny - Larry driving the harvester, with Harry in the John Deere and James in the New Holland. Photo: Alf Harvey/HRPhoto.ie

Tom Staunton

The recent warm and sunny weeks were very welcome after a difficult spring, but there never seems to be a shortage of work when a good spell of weather arrives.

I think most people panic and try and get as much done as possible while it's dry.

I've been kept busy, I had some lambs in to treat them for scald and I noticed that one of the ewes had maggots.

I got her at an early stage and treated her. Blowfly strike has become prevalent over the past week and I decided to treat all the lambs. I think it's much better to prevent problems than waiting for them to happen so Clik pour-on was used as it gives protection against blowfly for a long period and like all pour-ons it's easy to use.

The ewes were not treated and will be all shorn soon. So I've been keeping a close eye on them until we get the clippers out.

Scald is a bacterial disease and the recent balmy temperatures combined with some moisture have provided the bacteria with perfect conditions to grow. That's why I have seen an increase in it in recent times. It is not a major problem on the farm but I like to keep on top of it.

Treating ewes and lambs for scald can be very time consuming if neglected.

Any ewe or lamb that is lame is not thriving due to the discomfort. I generally use oxytetracycline foot sprays to treat scald. I make sure to clean the hoof before applying any product to it. Cleaning the hoof is important as if this isn't clean the spray cannot reach the scald properly and a dirty hoof is ideal for the scald to continue causing discomfort.

I don't opt to footbath as my land is fragmented and I find if you keep on top of it foot bathing is not needed.

I have shorn all the rams and Blackface mountain hogget ewes. They were well ready to shear.

Shearing is something we have always done ourselves. We take small batches of ewes and their lambs in and shear these in an evening. We don't go all out and try to shear the entire flock in one day. I find it more manageable for us to do it this way.

Wool prices

We also check ewes for mastitis, see how well their lambs have grown at shearing and ewes that don't meet the spec are marked for culling.

Wool prices have been poor for many years now and this year is no exception with prices falling lower than last year.

Grass growth and lamb thrive have improved. I have taken fields up for silage, which is much later than normal. These fields are growing well.

The reseeding is complete and this should start to do well and will come on stream for when I start to wean lambs. This will help push on lambs for sale.

Grass is not the only plant growing lately as the weeds too have burst into life and we have started spraying rushes, thistles, nettles and others.

I like to keep on top of the weeds on the farm with spraying because if I miss a year of spraying, there seems to be a lot more required the following year.

I am more specific with the products I'm using than before and now opt for products to treat specific weeds as these have a better success rate than generic products.

Tom Staunton farms at Tourmakeady, Co Mayo

Indo Farming



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