Focus now on preventing fly-strikes

Gemma and one of the triplets
Gemma and one of the triplets

Lambing continued without any more dramas – the scan was 100 per cent accurate and we now have our multiple sets of triplets out in the field.
The last two lambed within ten minutes of each other – it was a strange thing. 64 was due a large single and Gemma was due triplets – from the size of the bag and other indicators we were convinced 64 would be the next in line to lamb.
We spent a leisurely Saturday over the field, catching up with jobs and keeping an eye out for any changes in behaviour. 64 was clearly showing us it was imminent, pawing at the floor, curling her lip and twitching her tail, but with all eyes on her it came as a surprise to see Gemma, who had done none of the expected behaviours, pushing out her first lamb.
Our focus quickly shifted and we made up a temporary pen in the sun for her – over in the corner of the field, 64 was still behaving oddly. Suddenly 64 appeared and started to try and lick Gemma’s lambs, and the pen came in handy as we were able to shut her in.
Gemma swiftly delivered her triplets and we were so busy enjoying the moment we nearly missed 64 spit out – literally – a big ram lamb.
That was it, it was a wrap, lambing was over in a week, well done Humphrey – what a party you had. All are doing well and keeping the villagers entertained with their antics and growing so very quickly.
Our focus this week has been on fly-strike prevention – we have seen an increase in flies and some of the shearers have already reported maggots in fleece. We lost a lamb a few years back to fly-strike. It is exactly that, a blow fly lands on the sheep and lays its eggs, the maggots hatch and eat the flesh of the sheep, which leads to toxic shock and death, a horrible death.
The flies like humid conditions – it has been dry for some time now and as soon as it rains, the sheep, who have not yet been shorn, will be at risk. Each sheep is given a dose of Clik liquid on their backs, fanning down the spine, which will last for about 16 weeks, so is well worth doing for the peace of mind.
One of the ewes is allergic to midges and the battle has already begun to keep her ears free of bites. I have never heard of a sheep with allergies before but it is more common than you might think. Shearing is the next big job in a few months’ time.

by Tria Stebbing

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