Father and son team Philip and Stuart Hammond run the renowned Tullylagan flock of Texel and Blue Leicester sheep on their farm near Sandholes in Co Tyrone.
“We keep 120 breeding ewes in total,” Philip explained.
“The bulk of the flock is made up of pedigree Texels. But we also keep 40 Blue Leicesters plus a small number of commercial ewes, most of which are used to carry pedigree embryos.”
“Tonka was a very special animal,” Stuart confirmed.
“We knew from the very outset that he was one in a million. But one swallow doesn’t make a summer. Our aim is to produce as many lambs as possible from the ewes that we manage. And to make this happen, we ensure that each lamb born gets the best possible start.
“This means guaranteeing that all lambs receive sufficient colostrum at birth. In the case of triplets or lambs born at night we will normally feed Provita’s Colostrum product to them all.”
But Tonka still holds a special place in the thoughts of the Hammond family as Philip pointed out.
“He was implanted as an embryo into a Suffolk cross ewe that was born in 2007,” he said.
“Given her association with Tonka we would never consider selling her. And to her eternal credit, she has never given us one day’s concern, until this year.
“A few weeks ago she started showing signs of Twin Lamb disease and to be honest she looked like she wasn’t going to make it.
“However, we decided to drench her with Provita’s higher spec new Ewe Two product. Two – 50ml drenches on successive days did the trick, after which she was back on her feet, and hasn’t looked back since. It was an amazing transformation.”
Provita’s Tommy Armstron was a recent visitor to the Hammond Farm.
“Ewe Two Is a fast-acting, high energy drench for sheep with suspected twin lamb and/or ewes needing extra minerals and vitamins,” he said.
“This is an extremely high spec drench with mineral and vitamins available at therapeutic levels,” Tommy Armstrong explained.
A 50ml drench is recommended after a difficult lambing or prior to birth in the case of ewes known to be prone or have twin lamb condition.”