Dogs and Sheep a Worry to Farmers
I know it’s been said a couple times already about keeping dogs under control around livestock so I just wanted to give an example of the implications to the animals and farmers of why this is so important. In saying what I’m about to say, we know full well that it could be non-locals that are the problem, we just feel it is right to educate. You may be aware that my parents have a small holding down in Avoncliff. We have just finished lambing and unfortunately only two thirds of the flock gave birth. All the ewes were impregnated by the ram. We know for sure due to the tupping system used but all the ewes in the last group to fall pregnant, aborted their lambs. This happens when the sheep encounter severe stress in the early stages of pregnancy and we are able to pinpoint this incident to November. When a ewe goes through this level of stress when just falling pregnant, ie being chased around a field by a dog, her womb will absorb the newly formed foetus as a protection precaution. We don’t even let our own sheep dogs in the field while the ewes are pregnant. So just to explain, it’s not just the immediate issues of ripped off ears and the occasional fatality, 5 aborted ewes means anything up to 15 unborn lambs, that’s 5 mothers with no offspring and a farmer loosing over £1000 of income, not to mention the cost of supplements given to a sheep he thought were pregnant. Imagine this on a larger scale. We are just a small farm but there is at-least one much bigger one in the village. I hope this helps those who may need a better understanding. Thank you for your consideration. Emma Philpott
Photo: Five of our ladies with no lambs, excuse their shabby appearance - they have started shedding for the summer which is what they usually do after giving birth.