Sunday, 14 February 2010
We are novices at lambing. Black Welsh Mountain sheep are a hardy breed and one of the reasons we decided on them is that they are said to require very little help at lambing. We have been advised that they are pretty independent when it comes to giving birth.
Having said that, we have never been through lambing before and are only too aware of our lack of experience. So we thought it might be a good idea to go along to a lambing course which was run by our local country veterinary practice. It was held at a farm in the Cambridgeshire Fens and we were delighted to be able to pick the brains of John Maxwell – who has been farming for decades and has been though pretty much everything when it comes to sheep. There were a lot of small holders, a show breeder and even some total newbies like ourselves. Everyone was keen to learn – and to learn from each other.
Mr Maxwell brought us round his farm where he is at the end of lambing with his Charollais ewes. They are a large breed and looked enormous compared to our little Welshies. We got the lowdown on all the care required and interventions that may be needed as well as the tagging procedures and drugs that should be on standby in emergencies. We were also encouraged to get some hands on experience and were pleased to get the chance to do our first bit of tagging and tail docking. We went through how to deal with prolapses, various birthing problems, how to feed lambs colostrum and castration. Our vet also told us to be on the alert for all sorts of illnesses that can be a cause for concern at this time (watery mouth disease, navel ill etc).
We came away from the day feeling much more knowledgeable (if a little nervous...okay then...very nervous!).
Many thanks to the Maxwells for letting us all descend on their farm at such a busy time of year. It was bitterly cold – but our feet thawed out very well in the farm kitchen, helped by some delicious piping hot homemade soup!
Tiny Farmer out
ps. We have only just discovered the comments tag on the blog. To everyone who has posted comments so far, thank you and apologies for not replying to them sooner. Now that we're aware of it we'll respond.