It’s time for the next big “gather” of the flock for a thorough check of their health and condition, and to treat them in order to protect against the worst and most common of the parasites. This is a whole family affair, so we’re all out setting up the system, carrying out various stages of the process and generally lending a hand where needed. For the first time ever, we are using our new mobile sheep-handling system, the Alligator Pro 250, purchased, as usual, from our good friends at Tanner Trading. We’ve watched the videos, set it out on a practice run on our nice even paddock at home, but this is the first use out in the field, on the longer grass and definitely less even. So there’s a lot of working out how best to do it and, I think with a lot of discussion, we got it about right for what we needed to achieve today. It made all of the treatments SO much easier to administer, and being able to weigh and condition score the sheep in such a simple way in the centre of the run was a huge bonus. We’re delighted with it!
So in addition to the weigh and health check, what else did we do today? The ewes were wormed with a particular wormer, having been exposed to fluke during the long and very wet winter. The lambs had a separate wormer. If they have too many in their system, it hugely upsets their digestive workings, giving them mucky bums which then attract flies to lay their eggs in the fleece as well as making them lose condition. All the lambs and ewes were sprayed with a treatment that stops fly eggs laid in the fleece from developing into maggots which would then eat into their flesh. We still have to be very vigilant, but it is pretty effective.
We had to repeat the entire process in the second field with our younger ewes and lambs, and the group without lambs. They were harder to catch, but we finally gathered them all in and worked through the treatments with them. These younger lambs had a further treatment, an injection called HepP that vaccinates against a range of diseases. In addition, the younger ewes and lambs were then loaded into the trailer and moved back to the barn for this final group to be shorn before going back out to a separate pasture.
A highly successful day. Every sheep health checked. Every sheep treated preventatively against parasites. The last of the shearing achieved for the year, and the final group of young lambs vaccinated. Good job!