The feeling of helping a newborn into the world is second to none, so the time I’ve spent acting like a midwife for patients of the wooly variety, has certainly provided me with some of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my life so far.
My first experience lambing was all the way back in 2011 on a smallholding in Kent, where I was able to observe and assist in the lambing and postpartum care of a small flock of pedigree Jacob sheep for two weeks. It was a very gentle introduction into lambing, but enabled me to familiarise myself with the process and the important factors that need to be taken into account for both ewe and lamb, pre and post partum.
In stark contrast to the little small holding, my two sets of two week employed experiences in 2013 and 2014, were both at a large 1400 lambing ewe farm in Wolverhampton. The extensively-reared sheep were all lambed indoors over a labour-intensive six week period each Spring, which thus necessitated quick lambing and a quick turnaround of sheep back outdoors after moving through first individual and then group-housed pens.
Working in this fast-moving, intensive lambing environment allowed me to quickly develop, and then continually improve upon, a range of invaluable skills, including:
- Manual restraint and handling of sheep of a range of sizes
- Herding and moving sheep between barns, pens and fields
- Assisting in the safe transportation of sheep and lambs
- Administering sub-cutaneous and intra-muscular injections to ewes
- Administering oral glucose solutions to ewes
- Checking ewes’ udders for signs of disease or malfunction
- Milking colostrum
- Lambing a vast number of ewes with a large variety of lamb presentations
- Placing and administering colostrum to lambs by stomach tubes
- Administering Orf vaccinations to lambs
- Fostering triplet and quadruplet lambs onto ewes with single lambs
I’ve since completed a further two weeks of work lambing 320 North Country Mules in Worcester in 2016 completing night shifts on my own.
These experiences all came in useful at university where I spent an additional six weeks with farm vets learning about production systems, fertility, farm management, infectious disease, biosecurity and herd health as well as getting hands on with production animal health and medical treatments.
If you’d like to know more about my lambing experience, or my availability for assistance in future lambing seasons, please get in touch.
Disclaimer: The photos provided on this page do not provide an accurate representation of the amount of blood, sweat, sheep poop and amniotic fluid that is involved in lambing.