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Author Topic: First time lambing  (Read 919 times)

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
First time lambing
« on: October 26, 2019, 09:44:28 pm »
So this year (or next year) will be my first time lambing.
Earlier this year I attended a lambing session at a local vets so have an idea about what will happen. Will look to attend again before the for real stuff happens here.
Anyway - wondered if folk could share what essential equipment you’d recommend I have to hand? The vets offered a kit, and I’ve seen similar online. I have some lambing ropes, and castration/docking tools (which I won’t be using anyway). I can remember iodine for navels and colostrum for lambs who aren’t being mothered. Also a tube to feed with. Should I get bottles? And milk replacer? What should I ask for from the vet? Someone I know said if you have to put your hand inside the ewe you have to give an antibiotic afterward. Or if it’s a hard birth.
Any advice welcome. I am probably worrying prematurely.
Voss Electric Fence

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2019, 10:33:11 pm »
Basic lambing kit would be:
Gloves- essential for hygiene.
 Normal latex gloves and then long AI gloves. Lambing ropes, iodine, lube,  castration rings, colostrum (you can get individual dose sachets which are good for small numbers. All triplets get colostrum top ups here as standard, some from the ewe and then powdered top up), stomach tube, bottle and teat. Twin lamb drench, prolapse spoon or harness. Heat lamp. All things that you may never need but will be very glad you’ve got them to hand if you do need them.


A notebook is very useful.


 Iodine all navels twice- as soon after birth as possible and then again a few hours later. Torch/headtorch, plenty of snacks (I always get the munchies at 3am when I’m lambing! :roflanim: [size=78%]). [/size]




I also have:
Lamb kick start (for any weak lambs), spectam (oral antibiotic to prevent watery mouth- you shouldn’t need this. I only use it now as we had a problem with watery mouth this year for the first time). Anti inflammatory and antibiotics from the vet but if it’s your first year I expect any problems you have you’d have the vet for? And if so they will administer if necessary. Lamb macs- for turn out in dodgy weather. Have saved many a lamb here as the weather in Cornwall can change very quickly in feb/March when I lamb, and when I turn out they don’t come back in. I have milk powder as normally get a few triplets but no need buying it to start as for the first 24 hours colostrum is best.




Vets number in a easy to remember place. And plan if the worst is to happen where any dead stock will go. It’s easier to have a plan than try and ring round trying to find a knacker to pick up when you’ve had a bad night.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 10:40:02 pm by twizzel »

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2019, 07:14:37 am »
A marker of some sort to identify lambs.  It is amazing how quickly they can get mixed up.

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2019, 11:34:42 am »
My essentials are..

Gloves, Iodine spray for navels, sterile scissors for triming the lambs cord. Kick start for lambs that are slow to get up and suckle. Large dog crate with a heat lamp inside for porly lambs. Colostrum and milk. Sterile bottles and stomuch tube. Castration rings and applicators.

I usually pen the ewe with her lambs for 24-48hrs (depending on how good a mum she is and the space I have). I like to mark the lambs and ewes with a number so I can identify who belongs with who and like to worm the ewe and band tails/nuts at the same time.

I wouldn't use antibiotics after a birth unless you have reason to suspect something is badly wrong. I think the only time I have is when a ewe had ringwomb and I was trying to lamb her for a long time and my hands were in and out many times, and so were the vets later that day!

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2019, 02:47:03 pm »
I give 3 days of pen strep to anything that I’ve had to lamb and put more than a hand in to sort things out. Likewise if they have antibiotics they always get pain relief. But like I said in my post above if it’s the first year lambing and you encounter problems it’s probably better to ring the vet to help and they will also give any necessary drugs.


We’ve never used Spectam until this year when we lost a couple of lambs to watery mouth despite good colostrum management. Both lambs came from ewes scanned for 1 lamb who actually had triplets, consequently their feeding wasn’t right prior to lambing, and I also had proper flu in the run up to lambing and hadn’t managed to clean and disinfect their pens out before lambing started. Next year any triplets and weaker twins will get it and I’m also planning to lime pens to try and keep on top of bacteria as well as cleaning pens out as normal.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2019, 06:33:29 pm »
We buy a sealed bottle of antibiotic from the vet (usually betamox LA), and then challenge ourselves not to break the seal before its use-by date! That way we've got it if we need it, but also won't use it lightly.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Nelson International

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2019, 10:11:09 pm »
The stuff I wouldn't be without:
Lube
Iodine
Lambing Ropes
Gloves
Number of the vet, plus a few people nearby I think might be able to help with non-vet level issues
Something to rig up a bonding pen out of - I've used pallets, hurdles, but now have proper pens a friend has lent me.

I bought a heat lamp, but have not really used it. I've got naval clamps but found them more trouble than they were worth. I've got tail/castration tools but don't dock and probably won't castrate, tbh.


Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2019, 07:37:40 am »
Patience

Most problems are caused by people who just can't help themselves and have to interfere
Remember it's the ewes lambing not you  ;)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2019, 02:09:39 pm »
Patience

Most problems are caused by people who just can't help themselves and have to interfere
Remember it's the ewes lambing not you  ;)

Totally agree.

To which end, my #1 piece of lambing equipment is... binoculars.  So that you can watch from a distance without disturbing the ewes.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2019, 10:12:42 pm »
Fab - thanks so much!

Iodine - when I did the vet course it was suggested dipping was preferable to spraying, although spraying looks easier (and less chance of spillage!). But do it twice. Got it.

Maybe it was painkillers the folks I knew used, not antibiotics. I do know someone that has sheep etc. So if I have a minor issue I can speak to them but if something more I’ll call the vet. So any minor issue won’t need any meds anyway. Okay.

Picked up a very large dog crate for free the other day. Had it in my head for housing poorly hens or transporting birds but will also work as a lamb hospital once I’ve cleaned it up :)

Haven’t seen lamb macs before - they look like a good idea. Will prob invest.

We have a couple of good torches that have a good beam. Also got head torches. And binoculars!

I am lambing the Radnors indoors so I’ll be able to mark lambs with corresponding numbers. Not sure how things will work with the Badgers who are going to lamb outdoors. Will be able to number them when they come in for their Hep jab but I wonder how easy it’s going to be to round them up to number the lambs...

The guy we got them from lambs outdoors and said they’ll be fine. As Tim W says, he said don’t keep checking on them and let them get on with it. He doesn’t think they’d do well if had them in. I think we’ll keep them in a small field anyway. Not sure how small I can go, although they’d be confined if indoors so not much difference I guess.

Twin lamb disease will no doubt worry me. We only have a small number so aren’t scanning. Will have to read up on it...



bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2019, 06:00:23 am »
Don't mean to throw a spanner in the works and loads of people lamb outdoors fine.. but..

As you don't know these ewes do you think it might be an idea to lamb them indoors the first year. I would be concerned about preditors. Most ewes will attack a fox that ventures close to its lambs but not all of them. I keep my lambs in for between 4-7 days post lambing and still occasionally loose lambs to the fox, or sometimes find injured lambs. Crows are also a big worry of mine - I really don't ever want to see what they can do again, ever!

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2019, 07:34:30 am »
We have always turned out at 48 hours old no problem.
 
Lambing outside has its advantages but you need to be prepared for higher mortality rate and have a good dog I think which are 2 reasons why I lamb my little flock inside but put the lambs out after 48 hours.

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
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Re: First time lambing
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2019, 01:10:59 pm »
Don't mean to throw a spanner in the works and loads of people lamb outdoors fine.. but..

As you don't know these ewes do you think it might be an idea to lamb them indoors the first year. I would be concerned about preditors. Most ewes will attack a fox that ventures close to its lambs but not all of them. I keep my lambs in for between 4-7 days post lambing and still occasionally loose lambs to the fox, or sometimes find injured lambs. Crows are also a big worry of mine - I really don't ever want to see what they can do again, ever!

4 to 7 days is rather long generally ….  48 hours provided sucking well and bonded is enough.  Just check for a couple of eves (with binoculars ) that lambs settle with mum at night.    Anything not lively should stay in a bit longer.  Disease is much more likely if they stay in.
Linda

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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2019, 09:51:18 pm »
If the guy that sold you the Badgers said to lamb them outdoors, I’d be inclined to listen to him.  You’re using a Badger tup?  Not something different? 

My experience is that with some types of sheep - the hill type : Swales in my case - it is counter-productive to bring them in, or even to have them in too closely confined a field, and you can end up with a lot of apparently bad mothers, which is actually caused by the stress of the situation. 

Left to their own devices, they will go off to a private part of the field, often finding a bit of shelter, and get on with it quietly.  Making them be in close contact with other sheep at this time is highly stressful for them.

And I don’t iodine outside, I make sure they have clean ground and I don’t go and interfere at all unless something looks wrong.  If you go in and start handling the lambs within the first few minutes or even hours, you can interfere with bonding and feeding.

I generally don’t approach closer than 10-15’ until 24-36 hours, when I want to ring the boys.   I only go in closer and sooner if a lamb doesn’t look fed - but I’d give Mum at least an hour with them before I handle the lambs, if I can.  If the weather is dreadful then sometimes you daren’t wait an hour, of course.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2019, 07:04:19 am »
4 to 7 days is rather long generally ….

I lamb in Febuary, the weather is very unpredicatable here in Wales, it isn't practical for me to put out for the day and bring in, so gererally once their out, their out!

 

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