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Author Topic: Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!  (Read 4575 times)


  • Joined Feb 2013
Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!
« on: March 11, 2013, 02:18:57 pm »
Hi all

We are lambing 16 hebridean ewes indoors in the first week of April.  they have all been sponged but none scanned.

My hubby and I plan to do the lambing rota between us, but last year we just ended up exhausted and spent alot of time doing stuff together so it didn't work as well.

this year I want a fine tuned plan!  happy to tweak it but I'm much better if I have a plan of action to start with!

First sheep should lamb no earlier than Sat 30th March.

So.... I am a morning person, Hubby is a late stayer upper.  I can't sleep well during the day either but manage ok on 6 hours sleep as long as it doesn't happen every single night otherwise i get cranky! Hubby can sleep a bit during the day - is very good at having long lie-ins!

to throw a spanner in, I also have a horse to back and break in for that week and another one to ride - we are also Eventing on Sat 6th April so need a good nights sleep the night before. I'm better at riding in the morning, each horse should take no more than an hour. Still need to muck out etc so thats another hour.

Can you see why I need a rota planner!

So can anyone come up with a good lambing timetable?  we reckoned that if they were checked every couple of hours this was fine last year. 

Also we have a cctv camera linked to the pen so can turn the tv on to see what is happening and then wander up if they are looking like things are starting.

Need some brilliant rota planning whizz!

Thanks in advance


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2013, 08:02:09 pm »
Sounds like you are a bit late with the planning!! If you have a camera then saves sitting up all night and presumably you can check it from comfort of bed.  Surely that breed lamb easily?

Is it too simple for you to monitor days and hubby nights? You will only be doing short spells with horse so can't you do that between two hourly checks. Work one in am and other pm.

I managed to check mine every few hours and if you know the tell tale signs you should be able to spot early when the action is going to start which allows you to schedule around them.

At least it is only a week of being exhausted. Good luck, glad I'm pretty much done.


  • Joined Sep 2011
Re: Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 09:50:36 pm »
We are lambing over a 6-8 week period April 1st through to what ever.  :excited:

i will be working part time and OH will be working full time.

the rota we have worked out is...

4.30 am to 7.30 am - me on shift then i go to work

OH on shift 7.30 till 10 then he goes to work

12 10pm me till 12 midnight with maybe a break of a couple of hours to get my head down

then as before.

we have to do this as we are lambing inside this year.

we only have 64 to lamb, but to our way of thinking we are responsible for them.

yes we will get tired but it isn't for very long and they come first.

i have roped in family/friends to sort our horses/ponies out.... riding doesn't come into the equation


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2013, 11:01:59 pm »
We've tried me on days OH on nights. Try to leave a max of two hours between checks. Thing is I end up doing ALL the daylight only jobs on my own and it almost always works out that someone starts lambing as I'm going off duty so I have to monitor until he gets up and I lose that vital couple of hours extra sleep.
This year (we haven't actually discussed it yet  :fc: ) I thought ...
Me up at 6 am-to bed at 8pm then up at midnight and 4am
OH up at 8 am-to bed at 10pm then up at 2am and 6am
Then we swap- me up at 8am him up at 6am
Plan is we both get between 6 and 8 hours sleep plus attempt to get on with all the other stuff we have to do in the day, oh, and eat at regular(ish) intervals.
Of course the ewes won't comply and it will all go to pot and we'll look like this  :tired:


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Dent
Re: Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 10:03:23 am »
With our Hebs which we cross with Texels, we lamb outside and pop out and check them every 2-3 hours with sleep in between checks. Tried them indoors but found they were so much happier and settled outside without any intervention. They are normally so obvious if they are going to lamb in the next couple of hours ie they go away from the group and as yet have never had a problem at birth. If one is looking like its going to lamb we check more often but they are about as easy to lamb as ewes go and are excellent active mothers. All we ever have to do is dip the naval and give them a squirt of veleron. The Suffolks we have however are a completely different kettle of fish. They just lie there and expect the lamb to just fall out!


  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Pilton
  • Caution! May spontaneously talk rabbits!
Re: Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 07:59:17 pm »
I check my lot every 2 hours by day and then 11pm 2pm and up at dawn back to 2 hourly.
On the 2 days I work hubby checks during the day and I still do the night checks.
Over lambing/kidding EVERYTHING else takes a back seat for me. That's why I tup when I do, so I can plan ahead ;)
I lamb outside though they and the goats always have access to shelter.
It is exhausting but you sign up for that when you breed sheep :love:
We'll turn the dust to soil,
Turn the rust of hate back into passion.
It's not water into wine
But it's here, and it's happening.
but passive.

Bring the peace back


  • Joined Jul 2010
  • Shrewsbury
    • Fairfax Ryeland Flock
    • Facebook
Re: Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 08:49:41 pm »
we check every 3 hours. When hubby is here he will do the late checks at about 12am and then I will do the 3am check. hubby then does the 6am check before he sets off for work. I then resume duties throughout the day. When hubby is away with work I do all and will increase frequency if something looks a bit odd. During lambing period the horses are pretty much turned out if conditions are suitable i.e. not completely lashing it down & the ground is holding up. I rug them up accordingly and give lots of  hay. They seem to be very happy at being out and mooching around leisurely. Hope you manage to find a rota that works for you  :wave:

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 09:32:50 pm »
Without wishing to sound rude the whole point in having breeds like hebs is that they are close to nature and unimproved therefore there should be very little need, if any, for intervention unless they have been crossed with something big or over fed. The ewes/lambs are very hardy.

It goes without saying that lambing ewes  need watching but i think there is a grave danger of  over complicating things relax and enjoy your lambing and let nature take its course and be glad you dont have texels or similar that require a lot of intervention.

I personally dont think that disturbing sheep in the middle of the night benefits them and would advocate looking at them last thing ie 11 -12  then check again at 5 or 6 that is unless theres something imminent or wrong.
As the Meerkat would say keep simple things simplez
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 09:37:11 pm by Big Light »


  • Joined May 2008
Re: Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2013, 03:45:33 am »
My only experience of helping at lambing time with a hebridean flock involved a daily check, catching up any newborn lambs(before they get too lively!) to tag and spray navels, write records. This flock was a conservation flock, they were brought in off the hill before lambing to lamb outside. Purchased primarily as grazers initially they were not lambed, however the Hebridean society persuaded the owners that they should be lambing them and keeping the bloodlines going, and that that due to the breed lambing would be straightforward with minimal intervention required.   There were no assisted lambings, just new lambs to be seen in the morning.  Only one problem was encountered, there was one ewe that was found to have old mastitis and no working udder so the lambs had to be taken away for bottle rearing, udder checks prior to tupping would have ensured that she was not bred from so this could have been prevented. Assisted lambings were not known in the flock.

Our own flock of sheep however do get supervision and regular round the clock checks during lambing.  Normally OH usually does checks up to midnight and I start checks at 3.00am, then 6.30am or so. This works well for us as I have a sleep problem so will be awake at 3.00am anyway. However this year plans went awry as I managed to break my leg at the start of lambing! Poor OH has had to do everything initially - and coped just about! After 3 weeks or so I have managed to do the night checks again, so at least OH can get a decent night's sleep as he has to manage most of the day jobs still. I haven't been able to manage to get around the fields at night to check just in case any ewes catch us out with their tupping dates, we have been caught out by 4 ewes lambing out in the field overnight, but good to find them with nicely mothered on lambs in the morning! I am looking after the sheep in the yard, and bottle feeding the cades. We certainly  had to be adaptable this year and change our plans, but fortunately have got through it ok, main flock finished last week, just a few hoggs to lamb now. Next year I will try not to break my leg!


  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2013, 09:35:37 am »
I do the last check before going to bed, say 10pm, and then first check at sunrise, say 6am.  Plenty of time for sleep in between :).  I'll only check over night if I have a ewe that is actively in the process of lambing, i.e. has started straining.  I lamb outside.

If they were mine, Hebs in April, they'd be outdoors doing it all themselves for sure.  They should be low maintenance.  A check every fours hours during the day, and if you spot something going on then check every hour until that "event" has past.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Lambing - rota planning whizz needed!
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2013, 03:27:08 pm »
We check every hour during the day and pen as soon as the ewe goes hollow in front of her pelvis or shows any other definite sign of lambing down.  This way she gets her own space and can easily be caught if you need to.  We put the shed lights on and take it in turn to look over them very carefully from outside the gates at 9.00 p.m., midnight, 3.00 a.m. and then someone's up at 6.00 p.m. anyway.  Everyone has the same time each night, so we get into a routine and get a good few hours at a stretch.  Night lambings tend to be ones that have already clearly started in the evening.  We lamb over only 3 weeks anyway and get everything ready well beforehand (including many homemade cakes in the freezer - always helps!)  No visitors and lots of fast pizza and pasta suppers.  Just takes two hours to scrub the hallway clean when it's all over - or I suppose we could just plant some radishes instead.


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