Farmers fear for sheep on snow-covered hills
Hill sheep farmers will be counting losses from their flocks due to the major snowfall in the coming days.
The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) warned that the biggest risks were in cases where there were dangers of high drifts smothering sheep that had gone into valleys to seek shelter.
Sligo farmer Colm O’Donnell said: “In those areas, they would be susceptible to drifting. That would be a concern, that they would get caught up in it.”
Mr O’Donnell, who is president of the INHFA, said many hill sheep farmers do not have indoor accommodation for their sheep. “I took a decision not to gather them and to leave them,” he said, adding that farmers felt they would have better shelter.
However, Mr O’Donnell said other areas were particularly hard hit, such as Wicklow, the Comeraghs and the Mourne mountain range.
“The most important thing to alleviate the hunger situation would be the high heather, as they can browse on the tops of that until a thaw comes.
“Where there is a blanket cover of snow on the hills, you could have up to a metre in some areas,” he said.
“I’m sure there will be some losses; it is inevitable with the amount of drifts. They wouldn’t be able to access them yet.”