Alistair Mackintosh is determined not to lose any lambs before birth

My right-hand man and full-time member of staff has taken a well-earned holiday to Florida for three weeks. I’ll be glad when he is back. I am lucky, however, as my two boys are off school for one of the weeks, which has helped us keep on top of the workload.

I hate mentioning the weather every time I write, but if it rains much more someone will have to build an ark! It’s now more difficult to travel than when we had a foot of snow; even the dogs are leaving tracks in the fields.

Sheep are looking well considering. The realisation of just how much feed they are eating is beginning to hit home. They have had adlib sugar beet and silage, and are now receiving half a kilogram of expensive 18% rolls. I’m determined not to lose lambs before they are born, in the hope the lamb price will make up for high feed costs.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to buy a few more in lamb shearlings. A challenge when buying at this time of year is to be sure of the animals previous vaccinations and treatments, and to buy enough of them to justify running them as a separate flock, until they have lambed, to mitigate the risk of disease.

Our heifers have started calving. However, calves have been slow to suck and have needed some extra TLC, which is a nuisance at this time of year. I’ve provided some adlib minerals to all the in-calf cows in case this slow approach to suckling is not just about bloody-minded bull calves.

The breeding bulls have all had their feet done by the vet. I know it is early but there is nothing worse than having a breeding bull go lame when he is needed for work.


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