Irish Independent - Farming - - FARM OUR -

ALL the ewes on the farm have been pre­pared for breed­ing. They were dipped, fluke-dosed and sup­ple­mented with min­er­als and vi­ta­mins. This is one of the op­tions I se­lected for the Sheep Wel­fare Scheme.

The ewes were also di­vided up into groups for each ram, with ram lambs get­ting bunches of about 30 ewes and older rams bunches of 50-60 ewes.

The La­nark ewe lambs for breed­ing won’t go to the ram un­til well into Novem­ber.

There was an­other di­vide, with ewes se­lected for ei­ther the Blue­faced Leices­ter rams or the Black­face (La­nark type) rams for breed­ing on farm re­place­ments.

These bunches will be run with the rams over the next few months. It is an im­por­tant time of year to be vig­i­lant and make sure they are work­ing cor­rectly, that they aren’t sick and run­ning the risk of hav­ing a tem­per­a­ture which can make them in­fer­tile.

Once the ewes and rams are run­ning to­gether, they get very lit­tle dis­tur­bance.

I use a rad­dle on all rams as a tool to help me know if rams are work­ing and are fer­tile. I use the pow­der and oil and brush it onto their chests. It’s a bit more labour ex­pen­sive than the crayons, but I get a closer in­spec­tion of the ram more of­ten which helps to make sure he’s healthy. I start off with a brighter colour, maybe yel­low, and ev­ery two weeks I grad­u­ally se­lect a darker colour, eg green fol­lowed by blue and red.

This is also very use­ful in the spring time in know­ing when ewes are go­ing to lamb and can be

Tom Staunton farms in Tour­makeady, Co Mayo

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