A season fraught with hazards
We are now within a few weeks of the lambing season - a period when many upsets can occur. I have fallen victim to some of these over the past week. I have seen ewes going over on their back and unable to get up. Luckily this hasn't led to any fatalities.
All the ewes are now receiving concentrates and feeding ewes is seen as a normal task. I had an eventful and frustrating first feeding of one batch of ewes when one started to choke on the feed. All of my attempts to save her failed.
I housed some of the ewes that were AI'd as these will be lambing in early March. Four of these ewes became weak after housing, showing signs of a lack of calcium. I treated these with Calciject and the ewes responded well to the treatment with a full recovery. Perhaps the stress of movement and change of diet turned sub-clinical symptoms into to clinical symptoms. These ewes are now on a diet of hay and 0.75kg of an 18pc CP ewe and lamb ration.
Other upsets that can occur at this time of year are ewes aborting lambs, prolapsing etc. One other major preventable problem dogs worrying amd attacking pregnant ewes.
This came to mind as I read last week's Farming Independent. Apart from the physical damage, these attacks also have an impact on the survivors. Ewes become unsettled and stressed and can abort lambs.
Dog owners should know the whereabouts of their dogs at all times but particularly while ewes are pregnant and into early lactation.
Based on the soil samples I have had analysed, the P and K levels were low across the farm. This was possibly due to restrictions under REPS over the years. I have now applied 0-10-20 to the deficient fields. I have also applied a half bag of urea/acre to the fields that were saved over the winter. Hopefully that the weather will remain favourable and a good response will be achieved.
Teagasc held a hill sheep conference in Westport towards the end of January where I was asked to give a presentation on my experience and involvement in breeding groups and producer groups over the years.