Working day and night to bring your future herds and flocks into the world safely can take its toll. It is important to remember to look after yourself too!
Farmers are being pulled in a lot of different directions during the calving/lambing season and it can be mentally and physically challenging.
You have long, tiring days, and the potential loss of stock to deal with, despite best efforts. There’s a lot of leg work, often poor weather to contend with, and an endless to-do list.
Aside from calving and lambing, there will be stock still on crop, stock coming off crop, sick animals to tend to, milking, calf/lamb rearing, staff issues…as well as juggling your normal family/home commitments.
How can you reduce your stress levels and ensure the health of your workers?
- Get some quality sleep – you may have to count sheep or practice mindfulness to block out the sound of the rain lashing against the window in the dead of night
- Catch up with friends/neighbours/fellow farmers if you are feeling overwhelmed. A problem shared is a problem halved
- Try to calve out (excuse the pun) some time for something fun, or relaxing
- Plan ahead to stay safe as the risk of on-farm accidents increases at this time
- Keep well fed and hydrated
- Share the workload with other family members, where possible, or hire some additional help.
Preparation is key
To help reduce animal health issues over the busy period, try to ensure stock come out of winter in good condition and go onto paddocks with appropriate feed and shelter.
Ensuring you have enough staff, metabolics and drugs on farm to treat animal health issues effectively will also make things much easier on yourself and your stock.
A lot of the issues we are called out to at this time of year could be prevented or minimised with good management, and picking up/treating animal health issues earlier.
Having a good chat with your vet before spring, and as issues arise, can make a big difference.