The first of our lambs has arrived ahead of our spring opening, and there's plenty more on the way.
Hello readers, Lambing is a huge event on the farm's calendar, I've been asked to give a little more of behind the scenes on how we cope working day and night to make sure our lambs get all the help they need.
So here's my six top tips:
1. Get organised - In the preceding weeks we take the time to get on top of all those little jobs that need doing around the farm, when lambing starts it full on, juggling all the regular work and lambing is enough without having to fix sticking gates and flickering lights.
2. Colostrum - Timing, quantity and quality are critical.
Two feeds in the first six hours are crucial as the first helps the second to be absorbed better. In terms of quantity, lambs need to suck half a litre in the first six hours. We work on a normal feed rate of 50ml per kg.
Colostrum is packed full of natural goodness and helps our lambs survive their first and toughest days.
3. Patience - Sheep aren't lambing until they are lambing. A ewe who is panting, pacing, groaning and grinding her teeth can keep that up for hours, even days. So sitting on the edge of our seats (more often bales of hay) is just going to wear you out well before the big event. When she is star gazing, straining, bleating, curling her upper lip back, laid on her side stretching out her legs or pacing round with a water bag hanging from her bottom.....Then she's lambing.
4. Get some sleep - cat nap, snooze and sometimes we snore your socks off whenever or where ever we can. It's important to be on hand whenever our ewes need that little extra help and it gets very tiring.
5. Hygiene - the first one to three days are when our lambs are most likely to pick up nasty bugs and unhygienic bedding, bottles and feed are just some of the preventable ways lambs could get ill.
Illness and diseases are exacerbated with a delayed or inadequate colostrum intake as well as stress during pregnancy or a unbalanced diet.
6. Focus on the positive - we approach each lambing ewe with the expectation that she will lamb naturally herself without interference even if it takes her a while to do it. Not every lambing is straight forward and sadly not every lambing had a happy ending, but we are sure to do everything we can.
Thanks for reading this installment of our farm news, we can't wait to see you this spring.
Mrs Dowsons Farm opens March 3rd on Weekends, School and Bank Holidays. Find out more & book tickets at : Click Here