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Author Topic: Lambing 2021  (Read 526 times)

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Lambing 2021
« on: April 30, 2021, 12:50:41 pm »
Don't know if any one is interested but i thought i might give you an insight into a day on a hill farm in Dumfries & Galloway during spring lambing & calving .   Initial over view -  3,000 acres  from 450 - 2,600 ft  carrying  1200 hill northie ewes plus 300 ewe hoggs  , 350 to blue faced leicester  rams  rest pure northie  , lambing started  24th march with 350 x,ed ewes and 150 pure on a lower heft ( hill where these sheep live all their live's )  the 700 higher   3 heft's  sheep started 18th april .   40 suckler cows  beef shorthorn & bs x limousin  ,inwintered in sheds then turned out to make room for the sheep to lamb , mostly spring calving with a few slipped back to the summer , the heifers have already calved in early april and gone out to the hill  so 14 leaner cows have been brought inside to calve and the rest will calve on the hill .  So 250 x'ed ewes  and 70 pure  twins /triplets and gimmer singles all came inside to lamb and 180 singles lambed outside then as space allowed 300 hill twins / triplets and some gimmer singles came inside about 16th april and 400 singles stayed out side .   I have been retired as a shepherd for a few years but continue to help at lambing  and look after the  3 sheds of lambing sheep and the inside cows while the shepherd ( S ) looks after the outside sheep and cows , neither of us are spring chickens but we do have over 100yr's experiance between us .
« Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 05:24:21 pm by shep53 »

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Lambing 2021
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2021, 05:36:39 pm »
Every day i drive the couple of miles to arrive at 05.45  and  on sunday it will be the end of the sixth week , first job is to pen up anything lambed overnight  ,this morning  3 singles  3 twins  ( one single dead ) lambs iodine & check ewes teats .  S then goes off to check and feed lambed / lambing and cattle   and i bag up feed  ( bulk bin )and put in tractor bucket , feed 2 lots of cows  ( bull calf born about 5am up and bouncing )  feed 3 sheds of sheep by just pouring the nuts onto the straw bedding in a long line  @ 400gms  per sheep plus ad lib round bale haylage .

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Lambing 2021
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2021, 06:06:20 pm »
That's quite some smallholding Shep  :eyelashes:
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shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Lambing 2021
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2021, 08:03:53 pm »
Feed & water sheep in individual pens ( 26 this morning most was 53 ) making all lambs stand and stretch to check if full , one pair born 1600 yesterday not suckled , S milked mother and tubed last night   then mix milk for 2 orphans - 1- 5 day old triplet that was much smaller so removed to allow mother to go out with 2 , suck very well but had problems retaining heat so i cut the toe off a sock  made 2 holes for front legs and bingo polo neck , 1 - 2 day old twin that mother decide she wanted to kill at 12 hours old  , takes a little bottle then top up with tube , just finish when S brings in a week old lamb lost and hypothermic  ( very cold last night ) tube a little and put in warming box  then move onto pair not suckled , tie up mother with halter and teach lambs to kneel and suck ( udder to low and lambs to tall ) . check ewe in adopter ,feed & water ,now about 0800  so time for flask of tea and some biscuits .  Tail & castrate 18 lambs going out today ( some males from ewes mated to individual rams left entire  to be selected for breeding or burdizzod later ) then start to take out sheep and lambs in small trailer on hired quad  ,only 13 today to 5 different fields based on number of lambs / age of mother / heft , still sheep lambing to pen  2 singles  4 twins one single gimmer caught  ,lamb leg back  so pull and twist out fine mother not enthused . S brings in a 4 day old twin abandoned  so tube and put with orphans ,he says cow has calved outside all ok , time for lunch so home and back in 1 hour .   Back and inspect 3 sheds pen a pair , second ewe 1 lamb out not happy so have a feel normal position but head is bent so nose is on chest , push back straighten and pull out ok, S skins dead single lamb from this morning and puts it on the week old abandoned lamb.  Feed 3 orphans and suckle the pair again then put cubicle lime and a deep layer of straw in all the pens emptied today , while doing this see calf  / lamb with skin / not enthused gimmer all suckling so  :thumbsup:  pen up triplet 3 even sized lambs , give middle shed round bale of haylage . S has been seperating lambed single ewes from pregnant to put back to hill heft , its now 1615 so since all is quiet i go home, S will stay and feed /water / feed orphans and any lambs needing tubed until 2100 -2200 latest  so far 2315 , bed & repeat . Goodnight
« Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 08:38:56 pm by shep53 »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Lambing 2021
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2021, 09:21:24 am »
That does not sound like retirement to me, shep53!  lol.

I had 530+ ewes on the moorland farm, of which we lambed the 80 Mules and any Swale triplets indoors, so I know a bit of what that sort of operation is like.  But we didn't have cattle at that time.  After the first year, we staggered the lambings so the Mules lambed first (indoors) then the Swales (mostly outdoors) and we used to get a vet student or two to do their lambing practise with us. We also used to have a friend come to stay with us over lambing, to keep the house running and us all fed, run my co-farmer's daughter to and from school and so on. 

We could make up over 30 pens for individual families, and mostly only used maybe up to 15 at a time.  One year we had awful weather and we couldn't get any of the families out for a few days, plus lots of families being brought in from the fell with lambs foundered.  We had to erect another wall of pens and got up to 26 individual pens occupied plus small groups of families in every available space all around the steading.  I learned about pen hygiene that year... :o

It was all incredibly knackering - but it was my favourite 4 weeks of the year. 

This year I've had 6 to lamb and have stayed in my caravan in the lambing field.  It's surprisingly exhausting watching not much happen most of the time for 3 weeks!  And I have thought how much I would prefer a busy lambing...  Your post has reminded me of the reality of that, and perhaps I will count my blessings a bit more!  lol
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Lambing 2021
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2021, 06:39:40 pm »
Doesn't feel like retirement sally just pain  :tired: .                                                                                         Every day is more or less the same timetable just different numbers ,today  3tw  2 s on arrival  then 38 to feed in individual pens  . 3 orphans plus tube a little to the triplets born yesterday ( the biggest later gets a new mum ) a twin born last night that had a swollen head , the pair from yesterday that i taught to suck are fine and got the idea .  Take out 23 sheep with lambs to  7 different fields today  plus  8tw 3s born before lunch  ( one twin head only , so push back and find one leg ,too tight for both so pull and twist ok )  nothing lambed after noon but a cow calved on the hill . The trailer on the quad will carry max 4 ewes and 8 lambs ( in a small front section ) and when in the field it can take time to mother up each pair  or single .  Please feel free to ask any questions  :farmer: :sheep: :sheep:

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Lambing 2021
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2021, 04:32:04 pm »
This is your retirement? Why on this scale?

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Lambing 2021
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2021, 05:45:13 pm »
Because i was asked to help last year when the girl who was going to be helping was  under lockdown and this year he was let down at the last moment

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Lambing 2021
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2021, 07:30:32 am »
Because i was asked to help last year when the girl who was going to be helping was  under lockdown and this year he was let down at the last moment


Oh, I thought this was your own farm/smallholding you were talking about....

Nelson International

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Lambing 2021
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2021, 09:51:28 am »

It was all incredibly knackering - but it was my favourite 4 weeks of the year. 

This year I've had 6 to lamb and have stayed in my caravan in the lambing field.  It's surprisingly exhausting watching not much happen most of the time for 3 weeks!  And I have thought how much I would prefer a busy lambing...  Your post has reminded me of the reality of that, and perhaps I will count my blessings a bit more!  lol

So true. We have a tiny fraction of this number, but it's the most stressful, enjoyable, exhausting, fantastic time of the year. By the end, I can't wait to be done but also want the deliveries to keep on coming.

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Lambing 2021
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2021, 10:18:01 am »
Agree. We too only had a small number (5) to lamb. The last lamb arrived yesterday morning. Now feeling  a bit deflated that we have another year to wait till it all comes round again, but at the same time glad we didn't have 100s to worry about!

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Lambing 2021
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2021, 03:49:08 pm »
That's me finished after 7 weeks  :relief:  S still has about 65 to lamb all brought into shed so easier for him to watch plus about  20 cows still to calve , in about 10 days I may help Scabivax all the lambs .

 

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