Some 30 ewes and 25 February-born lambs were stolen from an out farm belonging to Meath sheep farmer Martin Gibbons on Tuesday night, 19 April.
The thieves cut locks on the gate of the 40ac field at Mullagh, Co Meath, rounded up the sheep and used the on-site handling unit to pull out 10 cull ewes, 20 ewes rearing lambs and 25 spring lambs from a flock of 85 ewes and 110 lambs, according to the farmer.
The theft of an estimated €10,000 worth of sheep occurred 13km from Gibbons’ home farm outside Trim.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Gibbons said: “It’s annoying when you have all the hard work done with lambing them to have someone else come along take them like that.”
He first noticed the sheep missing the following morning and described how ewes have been left without lambs and lambs without ewes, leading to mastitis risk and reduced thrive for the sheep that are left.
He said trailer tracks lead up to the crush where the animals were loaded.
The lambs had yet to be tagged, had long tails and were marked with blue or red numbers. They were all Suffolk and Texel crosses.
The predominantly speckled Lleyn cross Suffolk ewes have a blue “BG” brand on their sides.
The farmer explained that the sheep had only been in the field a week and that the thieves must have had “inside knowledge”.
No one, including a homeowner across the road from the field, saw or heard anything.
Stolen Blackface lambs
Meanwhile, neighbouring farmer Dona Vidal has also had two pedigree five-week-old Lanark type Scottish Blackface ewe lambs taken.
Vidal witnessed the theft of the valuable lambs, which were bred from stock imported last summer, in the early hours of Saturday 23 April.
She said after awakening to commotion in the field near her house, she saw a car pulling away from the field’s gate at high speed.
The farmer is offering a €2,000 reward for the return of the lambs.
Trim Gardaí are investigating the thefts. Anyone with information can contact them on 046-948 1540.