SIR, - As the owner of the sheep at Wester Park, Coldstream can I make the following points to the person(s) who fed my sheep the hay bale I had left for feeding later in the day.
This would have spread the feeds out evenly. Deep snow alone puts stress on newly pregnant ewes and can result in lambs being re-absorbed. You caused them further stress as 50 ewes tried to pile into the corner of the field to get at a 3ft. by 2ft bale of hay, with those at the back fighting and bullying to get to it while those at the front stuffed themselves.
To much dry matter in a short period is not good for pregnant sheep. The last ones in were left with dirty trampled hay to pick at, which can cause infection and loss of the lambs.
You had not thought to remove the strings from the bale, these then had the potential to cause injury or death by becoming tangled around feet or necks.
I had arranged for someone to come to the field at the appropriate time to feed the sheep this hay. Your action left the sheep without food for a longer period during the night, causing more stress due to hunger.
Just as I would not presume to interfere with the feeding of your or anyone else’s animals please leave mine and all other farmers animals alone. You may think you were being ‘kind’ but in fact you have created problems for the sheep and for me. I now have to make three journeys to Coldstream with hay in case this happens again. Remember this is my livelihood you are tampering with, and it is stressful enough in this weather.
RAYMOND H. DICKSON,
Castlelaw Farm, Coldstream.