A Shepherds Diary: May

The lambs are all growing well, there is plenty of grass for the ewes…time to enjoy sheep farming for a while!  The lambs have been at their most energetic, exploring the fields and searching for the smallest gaps in the hedge to squeeze through.  The trouble is, once they have got through into the next field or wood they can seldom find their way back to their mothers!  Luckily I have a new piece of kit to help me catch the lambs as they scramble to escape from me, a ‘New Zealand Super Crook’.  It’s not much different from a normal crook, but it has a small catch that locks once you’ve managed to hook a sheeps leg which means that it cant escape.  I can definitely recommend getting one! 

The growing lambs are at risk from various worms and parasites that can easily kill them because they have no immunity from them.  One of the worst is nematodirus, and there were ideal hatching conditions for this worm earlier in the month, so I dosed all the lambs with an anti-worm drench.  There is evidence of some parasitic worms developing resistance to the anti-wormers, so they have to be used sparingly and with care.  Getting the lambs and ewes into the handling system was quite a challenge as the lambs are not used to being herded,  hopefully it will get easier each time!  I also applied an anti-fly spray to the ewes, because there is a really horrible type of fly that lays its eggs in the sheeps fleece, and the maggots that hatch out burrow into the sheeps flesh and literally eat it alive, growing and multiplying and spreading to infect more sheep.  ‘Flystrike’ as it is called, is the condition I most hate to find in a sheep, but hopefully the ‘Click’ spray will keep them away until shearing time.

On a more general farming note, I got some lime (powdered chalk) spread on one of my fields to reduce the soil acidity, hopefully I will notice a difference in grass growth as the year progresses.

I am looking forward to the Heathfield Show this weekend, maybe I will see some of you there!