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Author Topic: From Indoor to outdoor  (Read 4293 times)

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
From Indoor to outdoor
« on: December 02, 2013, 11:59:23 am »
I've only ever experienced indoor lambing. I lambed indoor last year and will leave my ewes out for as long as possible this year and lamb indoor. But from next year I will have to lamb outdoor.

As I've never done outdoor, I'm looking for some advice, tips and what I need equipment wise in general.

I will need to make some sort of handling system for worming, shearing and jabbing etc. This can be a permanent thing.  Is there anything else?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 12:11:12 pm by Hillview Farm »
Voss Electric Fence

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2013, 12:43:55 pm »
Two most important things:


1) Have the right sheep.


2) Leave them alone.


You will find that very few lambs need pulling or assistance sucking when allowed to be born outdoors. On the other hand, you have much less chance of getting a lamb back on a ewe that she has rejected and unless you are very sneaky, you can forget about fostering (I have managed it once or twice, though). You will of course have to catch any ewes that need help dog/baler twine are handy although if a lamb is stuck, I often find the ewe will be too busy pushing to notice me sneaking up. Lambing later in the year means you can wear more..er...athletic foot wear for your ewe/lamb (if you are marking them or anything) catching exploits. I like hiking boots.

Cheviot

  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Scottish Borders, north of Moffat
    • Hawkshaw Sheep yarn
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2013, 01:00:37 pm »
Hi,
if you do not have access to some indoor space. you'll need some small pens with a roof, (some of ours are just pallets, with tarpaulin tied on them) to put any weak lambs or twins that have not yet bonded properley.  Depends on your sheep, but a good dog is always useful, especially if it will catch a sheep for you.
Lambing equipment wise, the same as for indoor lambing, but I always carry a dog collar and lead, incase you need to restrain a sheep, you can tie it to the fence, or hay rack, for example, if you need to get a lamb a suckle, it's just so much easier, than trying to hold a sheep and get the lamb to drink.
And finally at least two, preferably three sets of good waterproofs.

Regards
Sue
Cheviot, Shetland and Hebridean sheep.

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2013, 01:30:39 pm »
Okay, firstly we can't have a dog :( but if I have them in a smaller field for lambing then it will be slightly easier. Second I plan not to spray Mark as I don't have hundreds. I plan to leve them alone as much as possible and will select ewes for ease of lambing.  Only thing I plan to catch them for is tails and balls! There is plenty of shelter but may consider Making a shelter. Dog collar is a fab idea!! Thank you , I will be doing it alone as I can't always hold them and help them. Waterproofs, check, walking boots, check!

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2013, 02:40:52 pm »
Agree with Steve---and the first point it LEAVE THEM ALONE--that means if they have had a lamb and it is ok do not get any closer than 50 m. If they are lambing then go away and forget about them , they will do better without your interference

Essentials for an outdoor lambing are;
1) Thermos of coffee
2) Binoculars

99% of my lambing is done from the edge of the field ----the only time I catch a lamb is to tag it for parentage reasons

I think you will find that outdoor lambing is great---it just requires a change in mind-set from the shepherd
The sheep have been lambing alone for 1000's of years so don't worry about them coping

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2013, 04:33:00 pm »
Okay, firstly we can't have a dog :( but if I have them in a smaller field for lambing then it will be slightly easier. Second I plan not to spray Mark as I don't have hundreds. I plan to leve them alone as much as possible and will select ewes for ease of lambing.  Only thing I plan to catch them for is tails and balls! There is plenty of shelter but may consider Making a shelter. Dog collar is a fab idea!! Thank you , I will be doing it alone as I can't always hold them and help them. Waterproofs, check, walking boots, check!


I don't tail or ball - I catch lambs out of woolshedding rams to tag/record as potential replacements. However, those out of terminals don't get touched till I do them for strike (and that depends on the weather) but they are usually well over a month old. If your lambing field has shelter, you won't need to make one. I find that a lot of ewes seem to climb ti the top of a hill/somewhere else they can see all round to lamb. Try not to walk  through the ewes too often - Tims binocular method is best. Ewes are better restrained by sashing them with baler twine as opposed to having to remember a dog collar.


Here is a youtube video: Redhill Charollais - Sashing a sheep explained
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 04:36:31 pm by SteveHants »

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2013, 05:29:06 pm »
we lambed outside in a small paddock but did have an issue of rejection of the 2nd twin. after 2 years of handraising we lambed inside.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2013, 05:38:13 pm »
Make sure you have ewes that are used to you marching round the field and you use a tup that produces lambs that "shoot out" (like a Charrollais as opposed to a big Texel boy). Also I think scanning may be really useful as would be an idea of when a ewe is due to lamb (mine have had big numbers on their side for tupping and I write down when each one was tupped so I have some idea who to check in the field at lambing time, actually I have a small field and a big one with a gate between and move ewes from the big one into the small one as they get nearer their time).
Later lambing is easier on you - a good head torch as well to keep your hands free. Oh and if you are feeding make sure you have quiet sneak-up on them from the fence really early in the morning WITHOUT the bucket, so you can delay feeding until no-one is lambing.
Keep a lookout for the fox/badger and if a ewe decides to lamb in the evening you have to stay with her (and pen her and the lambs) even if it takes hours... I have watched a ewe through the night and the fox was sitting just inside the fence watching the ewe (and me) too...
Also see previous thread re crows! You need to be out just before the crows wake up.

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2013, 06:39:47 pm »
Steve that is Brilliant! It is truly amazing what you can do with a piece of string!

My biggest worry is foxes and crows! I hate them!

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2013, 07:23:19 pm »
Badgers/foxes/crows???  Outdoor lambing means  you have to accept a few losses to these vermin.
But in my experience what you loose to vermin you will saved by not loosing to disease in the shed
It will also save you lots of money---no hay/cake/straw/vastly reduced labour bills/vet & med bills down etc

Also makes lambing enjoyable

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2013, 07:27:52 pm »
Very true Tim. I think it will take some getting used to, I am soft and I like the thought of a nice warm dry bed but equally they did it for 1000's of years before now outside and the fittest animals survive!

I am ready to accept a challenge and give it a go and see how I get on!

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2013, 08:37:01 pm »


Also makes lambing enjoyable

Ehhhh..... not at 2am in a blizzard it's not.... I am glad I now lamb mostly in a shed  :relief:  (and have a camera up).

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: From Indoor to outdoor
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2013, 09:27:01 pm »
The nice thing about lambing outdoors is that you leave them to it

The biggest no-no is going into the field at night----I tend to get out about an hour or so after daylight, get round the last lot at about 3pm . In for tea and forget about them until the morning

Wandering around a field of lambing ewes in the dark is a recipe for disaster

 

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