NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Losing my Shepherding Skills  (Read 3924 times)

GeorgieB82

  • Joined Jun 2011
  • Saron, Llandysul, Carms
    • Wthan Online
Losing my Shepherding Skills
« on: March 02, 2015, 10:05:51 am »
Has anyone ever experienced a lambing season which has made you doubt your abilities to breed sheep?

I'm at that stage after 7 years of confidence in my abilities the start of this season has really knocked me. We've had two singles, one miscarrige (twins), twin stillborns and now I've fot a yearling who is looking really rough and the vet has suggested inducing her but has warned that the lambs are likely to already be dead.

I've never had a season like this, with only 29 ewes of which 12 are first timers, I'm taking a hell of a kicking.

To knock me further it has been 2 weeks since the first lambs and despite all the ewes looking ready to lamb none of them want to get the ball rolling!
Why not have a look at our smallholding - www.wthanonline.co.uk
Voss Electric Fence

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2015, 10:09:51 am »
 :hug:
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
www.nantygroes.co.uk
Nantygroes  facebook page

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2015, 10:28:11 am »
It can only get better ... probably :).  Keep your chin up!!   :fc:

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2015, 10:54:57 am »
 :hug: I guess it can happen to anyone - that's sheep. So many factors you can't control. Hope things improve  :fc:

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2015, 11:01:01 am »
Its a horrible feeling losing an animal and you second guess yourself the whole time to have a sucession of losses will undoubtedly play on your mind. Hang in there I hope things improve, who knows the lambs may yet be born live.  :fc:
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

trish.farm

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • hampshire
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2015, 11:10:09 am »
I had a rubbish year last year, lost my ram through an unknown poisoning, had to cull my favourite ewe through foot rot, had 2 cases of mastitis which I have never had, and then managed to kill the young ram I bought for tupping!!  Honestly felt so guilty about all of the deaths and problems even though none of them were my fault.  Just one of those years.  "When you have livestock, you have deadstock"  my neighbouring farmer always says.

It can only get better, even if it gets worse first.   :hug:

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2015, 11:10:51 am »
Yes, I had a horrid start with mine last year, and like you, the rest of them wouldn't just get on with the job, so it seemed like forever that I'd only had dead lambs and poorly ewes.  So I know exactly how you feel.  :hug:   :bouquet:

The saying is, "Bad start, good ending", and it's a truism that you often get the problems at the beginning, but then they hit their stride and come good.  (Mine did, last year.  I had no further problems with any of mine, once they got started.)

Did the vet suggest doing any tests on the miscarried / stillborn lambs? 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2015, 04:13:30 pm »
Did the vet suggest doing any tests on the miscarried / stillborn lambs?

I would suspect toxoplasmosis or enzootic abortion.  I suggest lambing the second wave in a different area of the shed and have a boot dip at the shed door, at the very least.

GeorgieB82

  • Joined Jun 2011
  • Saron, Llandysul, Carms
    • Wthan Online
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2015, 04:47:36 pm »
Did the vet suggest doing any tests on the miscarried / stillborn lambs?

I would suspect toxoplasmosis or enzootic abortion.  I suggest lambing the second wave in a different area of the shed and have a boot dip at the shed door, at the very least.

Thanks for all the posts, I have been beating myself up over this until I saw the vet who gave me a talking to and basically told me to 'man up'!

BTW, we lamb outdoors and as a precaution the ewes have been moved into another field, they only go inside for a short period once lambed so we can check on the lambs and ewe.
Why not have a look at our smallholding - www.wthanonline.co.uk

Melmarsh

  • Joined May 2014
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2015, 05:28:06 pm »
I've been lambing for 28years and still beat myself up over a lamb that managed to hang itself on a bit of baler twine because it sat down !! That was 26years ago !! Then went through lots of years with no problems. I can remember all my losses that I managed to put down to my fault when realistically I know it wasn't. I have never had huge numbers of sheep 30 breeding ewes being about my maximum but still you get years where things go wrong, last year being one and I only have half a dozen breeding now. I try and focus on the positive years when I managed to do the impossible !!! when everything went well and no losses, no scours all went well from birth to plate.
Yet to lamb this year but getting close and fingers crossed :excited:

FiB

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2015, 05:36:42 pm »
 :hug: :bouquet:  No sage advice as I am a novice, only best wishes that all improves xxx

Slimjim

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • North Devon
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2015, 08:13:59 am »
Seven good years sounds impressive to me ! Chin up and keep things in perspective. See it as an opportunity to learn more stuff. Good luck with the rest.

devonlady

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2015, 08:16:41 am »
 :hug: :hug:

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
  • East Yorkshire
  • visit my blogspot at www.thechickenwhisperer.co.uk
    • www.thechickenwhisperer.co.uk
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2015, 11:09:06 am »
Easy lambing makes lambing easy and all good shepherds blame them self but you wont learn anything from all the success stories.


Who knows why things go great and then go teats up? And if we knew why it would be too late to do anything about it. When I helped my neighbour to lamb his 600 ewes a couple of years ago many were affected by scmelemberg and I was fishing out dead, deformed or decomposing lambs all over the place along with lovely big lambs that just died for no aparent reason. One morning over a cuppa I asked him how many he had lost and he said "I dont know, you never count the dead ones. If you did you wouldn't be able to keep doing it"


Everyone on this forum takes a pride in how they care for their animals and takes it personally when they feel they have failed them in some way. We hate to think that we have had to learn the hard way and at their expence or that our ignorance has caused them pain and suffering. But when we focus on the sick and injured ones we can miss the basic needs of the others and loose sight of all the successes that we have. Dont stop caring or reflecting on what you could do better next time but make sure you use it to broaden your experience and build your confidence not diminish it.


Must dash...the fallen stock man has just called to collect a ewe who was euthenised as a result of nerve damage and pnumonia when she developed TLS a week before lambing, then it will be time to feed the triplets that we fished out of her and give the shivery one another antibiotic before making sure that the one who was born with entropion is now ok, then there is the ewe to check who is due tomorrow but who aborted 3 weeks early last year then the one who is a day late and has to be kept on her own as another ewe stole her lamb last year, then there's the one who usually has triplet but, Oh you get the idea.................,


Happy shepherding! 
« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 11:11:38 am by Buffy the eggs layer »
visit my blogspot at www.thechickenwhisperer.co.uk

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Losing my Shepherding Skills
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2015, 07:52:29 pm »
Make sure any afterbirths from still borns are disposed of without any of the others coming into contact with it. Enzo / toxo spring to mind. Hope things improve..
 
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

 

shepherding

Started by BLACKSHEEP46

Replies: 3
Views: 972
Last post March 18, 2013, 07:32:49 pm
by Fowlman
kd shepherding (shearing 2011)hi

Started by kd shepherding

Replies: 1
Views: 1211
Last post April 30, 2011, 04:14:39 pm
by Southfields
Baa Studs Extreme Shepherding! Brilliant

Started by Oopsiboughtasheep

Replies: 1
Views: 352
Last post December 06, 2018, 04:48:37 pm
by Fleecewife
Photographic and oral history of sheep and Northumberland shepherding

Started by namethatsheep

Replies: 0
Views: 241
Last post August 20, 2018, 10:04:36 am
by namethatsheep
Losing my nerve

Started by melholly

Replies: 36
Views: 7667
Last post April 15, 2012, 09:44:03 pm
by in the hills

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Little Peckers

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS