Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: First time lambing  (Read 1609 times)


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2019, 07:27:22 am »
I lamb mid to late February in Cornwall so whilst it’s generally mild it can be wet and windy and turn very quickly. Try to get a dry 24 hours to turn out and if we do then anything problem free and over 48 hrs goes out. If it’s soggy weather and there is space they stay in for a day longer. If there’s no space they go out. I do put lamb macs on all lambs and the fields have good hedges. If the weather is bad in the afternoon I don’t go out to the field, as the ewes tend to come out of their shelters to see if I have food and the lambs follow. Trust your instincts and ewes  :thumbsup:


  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2019, 08:49:45 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.

Yes - this is what the guy that sold them to us said. He said some others he’s sold to have brought in but he said they should be out. Understand don’t interfere as need to allow a bond to form. I guess it’s judgement as to when to intervene - if the ewe runs off and leaves it? Someone else I know suggested we should bring in as they’re first timers and will prob leave the lambs  ::) It is a Badger tup - from the same guy again.

Do you mean you don’t iodine outside lambs at all? Or do you bring them in at some point? I would like to number the lambs (I’m planning on numbering the ewes at vaccination time) so I can keep an eye on who should be with who. Again, the guy we bought from doesn’t do this but he is on a commercial level so isn’t too concerned - as long as they’re alive I guess!!


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2019, 09:39:10 pm »
First time mums can find it all a bit strange at first, and may run off if disturbed.  But usually they won’t go far if they’re not disturbed, and mostly they do come back to the same spot even if they do go away.

I’ve not had Badgers myself, but if they’re like Shetlands, not only are the mothers usually excellent, but the lambs are active, know exactly what they want and where it is, and are persistent in getting it!  :D

I cannot stress enough that the biggest threat to good mothering in first timers of this type (ie, not dopey commercials ;) ) is disturbance.  In spades and cubed if there are two lambs, and the disturbance is when #2 gets born - because by then #1 is up, fed and running about, and mum may decide that she will save the one that’s mobile.

So... numbering.  Someone suggested numbering the ewes before lambing, and I can’t tell you what a good idea I think that is!  (Number or mark uniquely in some way.  I used to prefer a “family mark” to girt big numbers, but whatever works for you.).

If the mother is marked, you don’t need to try to catch her in the field.  At 24-36 hours old you should be able to catch the lambs and mark them, ring them if you are doing any ringing, and so on. 

If used, iodine must be applied within minutes of birth to be of any use.  So if you are letting mum bond with the lambs without disturbance, you cannot iodine navels.  Iodine is used to minimise the risk of infection creeping up the unsealed umbicilcal cord; such infection can cause problems later, such as joint ill.  After an hour or two, the cord is sealed and starting to shrivel and dry anyway, so iodine does nothing useful.

If you lamb indoors, or if you pick up newborns and bring them in a trailer to where you want them, be that indoors or a different field, then you are maximising the potential to exposure to infection, so then I would iodine. 

If you are going to leave the family to get to know each other for 24 hours plus, then the best defence against infection is clean ground and an attentive mother.  ;)

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


  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: First time lambing
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2019, 08:51:11 pm »
Yes, the guy we got them from definitely said they’ll be fine outside and don’t bring them in as they wouldn’t like it. He’s had them for years so inclined to listen to him! It’s his Badger tup that’s we have on loan (part of the deal when we got the girls). Someone else said they reckon they’d do a bunk but maybe this is, as you say Sally, as a result of over involvement. They are meant to be good mothers but as it’s first time it’s all going to be down to their instincts.

What do you class as a clean field?


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