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Flock Fostering Tips for New Farmers

In: Business

New sheep farmers starting their flock from scratch often face many challenges. One of the biggest challenges can be the lambing season, where for various reasons, ewes and lambs become separated. Why does this happen, and how can a new farmer overcome hurdles during lambing season? Below are a few tips to help care for your sheep. 

Careful Fostering 

Lambing season can be a trying time for any farmer, but it can be especially difficult for new farmers. Facing the likelihood that during the season ewes and lambs will be separated, it’s important to find a quick solution. There are several reasons why a ewe could stray away from its lambs or vice versa. Ewes can reject their lambs or become sick and unable to care for them or die during lambing. If a ewe rejects her lamb, the farmer must step in and quickly find another ewe who will accept the lamb. The same goes for if a lamb is orphaned due to the passing of its mother. 

Experienced Resources 

Having the right guidance and support will be invaluable. As a new farmer, you’ll want to establish a relationship with a trusted shepherd and other experienced farmers. They can forewarn you about challenges you may face during lambing season and advise you on how to be well prepared to resolve them. They can also offer guidance on how to best care for your flock in order to protect them from predators. 

Threat-Posing Parasites 

During the winter, parasites such as lice can be more likely to affect your sheep. Because sheep tend to become overcrowded and have longer wool during the winter, lice can become a serious issue and can spread to the majority of your flock. To prevent lice from spreading, be sure to find a service that offers lice treatment for sheep. A professional can give you tips on how to prevent your sheep from getting infected in the future while also offering treatment options that are safe for animals. Because wool and human hair are different, it’s important to avoid using human lice treatment on your sheep. 

Inspections and Journaling 

Common health concerns for sheep are pneumonia and twin lamb disease. Checking for these regularly, especially during the first few weeks of life, is crucial. Doing so will help you to identify any problems early on and take steps to address them. Inspecting your flock also allows you to keep track of which ewes have been successful in raising lambs and which ones have not. 

Journaling the progress of your flock will also be helpful. This will give you a written record to refer back to and help you track the health and well-being of your animals. This can prove beneficial if you begin seeing patterns of losses, and will give you documented observations to share with those you may seek advice from. 

With a little bit of networking and preparation, you can provide a safe and nurturing environment for your sheep. Compatibility issues can make foster flocks a bit unpredictable, but if you’re prepared for changes and emergencies, you’re off to a good start at fostering a healthy flock of sheep. 

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