By godwinsfarm On
Lambing Spring 2019
Back in October I promised the readers of my website page that I would keep you all up to date with our first ever lambing season as it progressed. Well….I apologise for the delay in writing…I think I may still be in shock. It was exactly what I predicted on my last post – an absolute roller-coaster ride. I hope this blog gives you a small insight into our experience.
Our barn was finished just in time at the beginning of March so the ladies were able to come in to get settled in good time for our scheduled start date of the 1st April. I was on a two week count down and I watched them like a hawk, excited for the first signs of our new arrivals. I watch and watch and watch (a watched pot never boils). In hindsight this was the perfect time to be resting to gather my energy for what was to come. I am sure I have given this sage advice to friends of mine expecting their first children…
On the 27th March my wait was over…our first little ram lamb was born. By this point I had read and re-read our two text books on what to look out for and to expect when lambing starts. I had tested myself religiously on normal presentation of lambs and what to do if they aren’t presenting right and could probably quote word for word how to lamb anyone of these problem births. I think at this point divine intervention decided they would test this knowledge. The lamb was coming out like superman…the worst to sort in my opinion. Little lamb had one front leg and a head out and the other leg was back. I knew what the book said to do…I was to gently push the lamb back from whence it came, find the other front leg and pull that forward to allow for lambing in the normal presentation. Well that is a lot easier said than done when the little lamb is looking at you and you know it wont be able to breath while you try and sort the limbs out! Joe and I must have looked slightly flustered at this point but I had always wanted to be a midwife (this is the same, right? – with a lot less training and exams) so I reached for the gloves and lube and (trying not to panic) followed the text book to the letter. Thankfully (what seemed like hours later) a couple of minutes later we were looking on as the ewe cleaned and fed our first new arrival. A funny looking lamb with brown spots all over him! One ewe lambed 78 to go….
28th March we welcomed a set of twins…tiny but seemed to be coping ok, if a little shell shocked. We thought at this point that we weren’t sure what sheep farmers complained about…it was all very civilised.
A couple of days passed and we had a couple of ewes lambed with no major issues. Unfortunately however one of our first set of twins took a turn for the worse. He looked very sorry for himself. We didn’t know whether we should leave him where he was with his mum or risk taking him away to see what could be done for him. He ended up on my Dad’s AGA wrapped in a blanket, fed electrolytes and pro biotic yoghurt (the only flavour I had in was Kiwi) – it was a home made remedy for Scour that I had read in one of our books…I had no clue if it was the right thing to do or not but less than 5 hours later he was looking so much better. He was returned swiftly to his mum and christened Kiwi. Crisis averted.
It was after this life saving mission that the real lambing experience hit us. Joe was scheduled for the night shift checking them every couple of hours from 8pm – 12pm and I was taking the early morning shift from 4am. Well Joe was lambing ewes all night getting in to bed at 4am to sleep for a couple of hours before work at 8am and I was having to work from home to manage the day shift. Three weeks later, two vets visits and 110 lambs later we had survived.
There were days towards the end of the four weeks that I thought we may have bitten off more than we could chew…we treated Scour, a lamb that couldn’t use his front leg after an assisted delivery and successfully lambed twins to a ewe that had prolapsed weeks before going in to labour. We were both exhausted and I have no clue how Joe was functioning like a normal person at work, I certainly wasn’t…but we had survived. Every trip to the field with a trailer of healthy ewes and lambs made all of it worth it. We both felt a massive sense of achievement. The barn was empty again and I looked back on all the really hard days and the really good and all I could think was…I can’t wait for next year!!
After all of this I thought it would be a matter of leaving them to grow, instead we have fenced multiple paddocks, moved ewes and lambs around to give them the best grass, learnt the art of treating fly strike throughout the warm wet weather, shearing, worming and vaccinating. There is never enough time in the day and I am surprised I don’t sleep at my desk during working hours…but I couldn’t be prouder of what Joe and I have accomplished so far. If I can find the time I will endeavour to update you all again soon…