WE bought 66 maiden ewes at the end of last year to boost the flock and be the next breeders.

They were too young to meet the rams this year, but all that will change in 2019.

The older ewes have just had their six-week spell with the rams and have retired to a resting paddock to grow their unborn lambs.

All attention had been focused on the breeding ewes, until this weekend the long-suffering Mrs Kendall noticed one of the maidens looked a bit poorly, we check them every day, but one had slipped under our watchful gaze and was a couple of days into feeling sorry for herself, with good cause I might add.

We had to bring them all into the yards anyway, so Miss sick lamb was siphoned off for special care.

She was dehydrated and looking ill, she was a bit grubby at the back end and generally in a sad state.

Mrs K leapt into action, and within minutes she had been drenched and clipped and sprayed and clipped again and then given an array of injections.

We left her be while we drenched the others, then she was back in focus.

Mrs K decided Miss sick lamb needed to be on a drip, yes, I know, and so we took her to the vet room and the line went in.

Then she was caged and more fluids run in. A smorgasboard of tasty delights were put within reach, and then more medicine.

It’s not often you see a sheep indoors, but such is the care Mrs K gives to her animals when many others would reach for the rifle.

It’s with this in mind I found myself angrily yelling at the car radio while listening to a news report about 2400 sheep dying on board a ship bound for the middle east.

People have grown these, and it’s not always easy, only for them to die on a ship in bad conditions. Lack of air flow I think it was.

Now I know these sheep are bound for slaughter anyway, but for them to suffer on board the ship is appalling.

My pittance of sheep production would not even register, but I would be horrified if they had gone this way.

Isn’t it time we looked at cutting live export of sheep?

The carriers would say they were under veterinary care, but figures I heard on Monday suggested one vet was overseeing 64,000 sheep. Impossible.

Abattoirs close to ports would provide jobs for Australians, and the sheep would (should) be killed humanely and sent as frozen cuts.

I accept most of us eat meat, and I accept some of the sheep I produce end up on the table, but can’t we make that journey from paddock to plate a little bit easier on the sheep?

Or am I just being soft?

– Steve Kendall
Twitter@stevekendall1