Thursday got off to a busy start, as we got up bright and early to bring in the ewes for their pre-lamb Heptavac booster. Heptavac P Plus is primarily given to sheep to aid in the control of pasteurellosis and a whole host of other horrible diseases, but in lamb ewes can also receive a booster jab at around 4-6 weeks pre-lambing to pass these antibodies in the first 1 or 2 days after birth.

This was the first time I’d brought the sheep in, so I wasn’t really sure how well it would go, but thankfully I was able to lure the majority through an open gate with the help of a bucket of cake. We had a few that weren’t too keen on coming in (including a few who impressively managed to make a break back across a cattle grid!), but these were easily rounded up and herded in with the ATVs.

The sheep waiting in the race

The sheep waiting in the race

Once in, I popped their feed troughs in and left them to calm down and enjoy their breakfast, while we popped back inside for a cup of tea and to enjoy ours!

As well as this being the first time they’d been in the race, it was also the first time I had gotten so close to them, so I wasn’t really sure how they would react… especially when I came at them with a syringe!¬†I’d worked with sheep in the race before and had injected animals in my previous job, so I was quietly confident, but thankfully the ewes played ball and behaved themselves and they were queued up quietly in the race in no time.

Sheep waiting patiently as Iona conducts a stock check

Sheep waiting patiently as Iona conducts a stock check

While they were in the race they were jabbed (Heptavac is injected under the skin, which if you haven’t done, is a real pain in the arse!), before checking their markings to work out how many lambs we could expect from each and when to expect them. The majority are singles but we do have four sets of triplets due, which was a very nice surprise, and two who are unmarked, so we’ll just have to wait and see what pops out of those

Jagging the last of the ewes - this one is one of my favourites. She has some really wonderful face markings

Jagging the last of the ewes – this one is one of my favourites. She has some really wonderful face markings

.Once they had received their shot and Iona had made notes of who was having what, we split the ewes into two groups based on who was due first and second. Our green group, who are due in just under 4 weeks, contains 6 ewes and have been placed in a wee field between our house and the holiday cottage. The remaining 10 have been put back out in to their field until nearer their due date.

The green group

The green group

Conveniently, the lambing pens arrived on Thursday afternoon so that’ll give me plenty to keep busy with next week…

One thought on “Vaccinating the ewes

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