You know lambing has started from the moment you get the first lot of ewes in.
The ewes are bought in at different times dependent on when the tup was put in with them. This allows us to ensure we have the ewes expected to give birth inside first and they will have had their lambs and been turned back out into the field by the time the next flock are due.
The shed is set up with a series of pens around the edge. These are used later in the lambing process as holding pens for the ewes and newly born lambs, they look very empty at the moment:
Once they come inside the daily chores begin, each day we have to straw down the pen to make sure they have somewhere clean to lie, check they have hay, water and once a day we feed them. Feeding them without getting knocked off you feet is quite a skill, I haven’t developed it just yet, a hungry ewe is very powerful!
From the moment they come in the pen is constantly monitored to see if their is any action yet. At the beginning you have loads of energy and get really excited for the arrivals but monitoring the shed doesn’t stop just because its night time, regular checks must take place throughout the night also. It can be a bit of a waiting game to begin with, but the moment the first one lambs it seems to set of a chain reaction and we are away.
When we check the shed we walk through the ewes to look for signs of anything that is likely to lamb shortly or may be having trouble lambing.
Signs of lambing can be: scratching at the ground to make a nest, agitated- getting up and down constantly, licking of the lips, and the most obvious is the water bag showing.