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First Time Lambing


The actual lambing process

When I first arrived on the farm, I was aware of the signs to look out for when lambing- stargazing, nesting, etc. However, on the first day, there were some sheep I thought weren’t lambing, then of all a sudden popped out a lamb! As my placement progressed, I developed my observational skills and was in tune with the sheep that were lambing. I assisted many sheep during my two weeks on the farm. One of my proudest lambing moments was helping an ewe with ring womb deliver a lamb. Ring womb is a serious condition where the uterus contracts but the cervix doesn’t dilate. This was a really bad case as

the lamb was premature and when the farmer first intervened, the farmer tried to massage the cervix but it wasn’t dilating at all. If the lamb can't get out, both the lamb and the ewe will die unfortunately. So I had a go. After a little bit of massaging, I managed to pull the lamb out and both the ewe and the lamb survived! This may be because even though I’m a small person, I have perfect tiny lambing hands! I was so happy that they made it in the end with my assistance.




Feeding

Alongside the actual delivery of lambs, I also got to participate in feeding lambs. When you hear about feeding lambs, the first thing that comes to mind is bottle-feeding- which is true! However, there is so much more to it. I got to help lambs suckle onto their mothers- helping them learn to feed on their own and not depend on feeding from the bottle. I also learnt how to milk an ewe! With the ewe milk I collected, it could be fed to either the young lambs or the really poorly ones. I also gave some lambs colostrum. Besides, I tube-fed a few lambs. Tube feeding is when you put a tube down the oesophagus of a lamb into its stomach and this is sometimes vital for lambs that refuse to feed from the bottle or are really weak. I found tube feeding to be very rewarding as it ensured that the lambs received the vital nutrients they needed to grow and had a fighting chance.


Other duties I did on placement…

I got involved in a lot of lamb castrations and tail ringing. I ear-tagged lambs and moved sheep into different pens before they would go out onto pasture. I would refill water buckets, sort out bedding and give hay to the ewes and feed them pellets.


Overview:

I was always excited for lambing, and I still am about this time of year- it’s such a great rewarding opportunity which I will do again! As well as excitement on my first day, I was a little bit nervous as I had never done lambing before and was feeling self-conscious. Nevertheless, it was great to see my teaching from lectures come to life and see my growth throughout the two weeks. My advice would be don’t be afraid to ask farmers questions- there’s never a silly question! Also, don’t be afraid to get hands on because the more you get involved with, the greater the confidence you’ll have!



Written by: Summer Cuviello


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