Friday, 6 April 2012

Back to the farm....lambing time!

So I've returned to the farm to learn about the exciting time of lambing. My partner has labelled my version of lambing as 'glaming' as all I do is sit alongside him in the jeep and look at the cute little lambs- to be honest I don't even like getting out to open the gate! In all seriousness, this is a very important time for the farm which is why it is vital that things go well.

The farmers here on this mountain farm tend to go out and check on the situation 3-4 times a day, starting with an early round at 5.30-6am- I decided to sleep that one out! The lambs are spread across a few fields and are divided into either the ages of the Mothers or whether or not they are expecting twins (this is determined by a scan I mention in my 'day on the farm' blog entry).  The round involves the farmers driving around in their vehicle looking at the sheep to see if any of the ewes or lambs are having difficulty.

On the farm they are currently getting around 30 lambs a day. Unfortunately 1-2 of these are lost due to difficulties during birth, being born dead or predators such as foxes and crows unfortunately attack. The Mothers can also be lost, and my partner explained how the 'yearling' ewes require much attention as they have never given birth to a lamb before. These 'yearlings' are actually almost two, but as this is their first pregnancy it can be a tricky birth. Often, if a farmer spots a ewe struggling he will 'pull' the lamb which often saves the lamb and the mother.

The yearlings giving birth to twins may have trouble producing enough milk and and when a lamb is not given enough milk by its mother then often the farmer takes the lamb and mother (if she is still alive) into a large shed and bottle feeds the lamb- it's very cute I must say. Large feeding blocks are also placed around the field for the ewes to lick, these blocks help increase levels of colostrum in the Mother's milk which is crucial for the strength of a newborn. I have found lambing to be quite sad at times, I only expected happy little lambs to be prancing across a field....there are some lovely times however, and when a farmer manages to adopt a lamb to another mother who has lost its ewe saving the animal then he knows that he's done a good job!

Lambing will take place for around 6 weeks, the farm expect to gain around 1100-1200 lambs in this looks like I have a lot more of this to come!

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