Farmer Focus: Getting ewes ready before tupping

My focus on the farm has now moved to the next six months. Ewes have been sorted, any sheep that are lean, missing teeth or suffering with bag malfunctions have been moved to the cull group.

Feet have all been attended to and they are now getting very regular foot-bathing in zinc sulphate as part of our programme to remove lameness from the flock.

All breeding sheep have been condition scored. The leaner ones, which were also the ones that had feet problems, have been put on the best grass.

My target now is to get all the ewes in the best condition possible by the time tupping starts in November.

See also: Guide to breeding from ewe lambs

After our vets started to see fluke in sheep locally, all lambs and ewes were given a wormer/fluke drench. Hopefully at the end of the 28-day withdrawal we should have a huge draw of lambs.

My target is to have only the breeding sheep left on the farm by 1 November.

My gimmers have come directly from my neighbour and these have all been vaccinated against enzootic abortion. I have made two trips to on-farm ram sales and now own another Suffolk and an AberMax.

This means for the first time since starting sheep I won’t have any Texel tups on the farm.

I really like the on-farm sales format where you see sheep in their “working clothes”.

Financially, the sheep have been my poorest performers on the farm in the past few years, but in conjunction with my vet I am happy I now have a plan to rectify this, otherwise other avenues will need to be explored.

I have calculated my feed budget for the cattle and as long as the brassicas yield as predicted, I should be OK.

Dung samples from the cattle have been analysed and according to the results, there is no lung- or gutworm and no fluke, but the kill sheets say different.

Our Norfolk Black Christmas Turkeys have arrived and the Christmas order book has started to fill. It’s a very exciting time for the kids – ho ho ho.

Michael Shannon is a Farmer Focus writer farming in Lanarkshire. Read his biography