I don’t think I have ever hidden the fact I am not a big fan of sheep. I find they are just a constant challenge and are not good for a positive mindset.
I wonder if anyone has ever studied which group of farmers suffer most from depression. I bet it would be sheep farmers.
I had decided at the end of last year breeding sheep on the farm was finished.
I had come to recognise my skills lie in finishing animals, and no matter how much tutelage I got from friends, who are proper experts in sheep, I just couldn’t get them to perform how I wanted.
Every time I would solve one challenge, another would appear and take the legs from under me.
All change in 2020
Due to Covid-19, however, this year has been different.
We were so busy in the shop in spring, I decided to lamb outside. Albeit the weather was extremely kind, I didn’t have my normal losses due to twin lambs and didn’t lose any ewes the whole of lambing.
I didn’t have any ewes with bad feet, my lamb mortality is at its lowest, and my lambing percentage at weaning is at its highest ever, with a weaning weight of 34.7kgs.
My costs were greatly reduced because I didn’t use any straw, although I did still feed the ewes prior and post lambing.
I have more lambs away from their mothers earlier than ever, and I even won an award for having the most lambs in specification from our local co-op, and the price is fantastic at the moment.
And the biggie: my wife and kids were still speaking to me at the end of lambing because I hadn’t turned into the normal grumpy lambing git.
But are they (the sheep) toying with me like usual? Are they making me think it could be like this every year? Probably, and next year it will be back to normal – a disaster.
Maybe a very reduced flock of 100 ewes to supply the shop would be the answer.
Grass has been in abundance across the farm and I have been able to keep cattle numbers high.
Life on the farm is good at the moment. Long may it continue.