Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lambing - Day 11

I got to the farm at 8 with Greg + Bluebelle - I put them back into the cade pen with the others who seem to have grown since Friday! I then fed the sheep.
Lois, Charlotte, Louise and me filled up the water buckets and hayracks, then strawed down all of the pens.
We all started on rubber ringing, Scabivax'ing and numbering the lambs, and worming and trimming the ewes feet. It didn't take long because there were 4 of us, so we got through them quite quickly, taking it in turns to do lambs then ewes.
After that we cordened off a field for the smaller lambs and ewes out of the bigger pen to go into just for the day - we walked them back in later this afternoon.
John came down to the farm and then all 5 of us got into the car to go and see 200 of John's ewes (about half an hour away by Kings Bromley). These are the ewes that will be brought into the new shed for lambing in a few days. They are Welsh Mules.
We fed all of the sheep and there was one ewe with a prolapse which John couldn't catch on his own yesterday, so we had to spot her and then catch her. When we'd got her John helped to put everything back inside the ewe, and then inserted a prolapse spoon to hold it all in and stop it all falling out, he then tied it onto her. It looked like she had already started lambing, so we put her into the back of the truck and drove back to the farm.
When we got back we topped up the hay racks and hay racks, then fed the sheep.
No more ewes had or were lambing so I went home at 4.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lambing - Greg + Bluebelle

Greg + Bluebelle are doing fine!
Once people hear we've got lambs at home they want to come and see them, so people have been popping in all the time to have a cuddle.
Greg is my lamb, and Bluebelle has become Nathan my brother's lamb. Greg is the white one with Red number 91 and Bluebelle has black spots - Blue number 83.
They're drinking better than they were before so hopefully they'll be alright :D

Friday, March 28, 2008

Lambing - Day 10

I got dropped off at the farm at 8am this morning.
All of the sheep are now in the old shed, while the new shed is being cleaned and disinfected ready for Johns sheep to come in and lamb.
We filled up all the hayracks and changed waters in all the little pens, and then bedded down all of the pens in the old shed.
We moved all of the bigger lambs and their ewes into a spare big pen which can all go outside at the same time when the weather gets better, we now have room for newborns to go straight into smaller pens.
I went up to feed the triplets in the paddock and up in the top field.
Lois + I went around all the smaller pens and rubber ringed and prepared the lambs and ewes so that they are ready to go outside.
We bottle fed all of the cade lambs and made sure they had enough milk, and then topped up the molasses feeders in the big pens - its so heavy and the ewes try to drink it out of the bottle before it gets into the feeder which makes it even harder to do!
There was a single lamb ewe which had been struggling for quite a while, so I helped her to deliver the lamb because it was stuck. I pulled one leg at a time to make sure it was presenting properly and it also makes the shoulders narrower. I got the head facing the right way - head first out of the ewe - and then pulled the legs at the same time and out it came. I cleared its mouth and scrubbed it with straw to make sure it was breathing and then the ewe started licking it. I penned it up and Iodine and Spectamed it.
Me + Lois then went out into the paddock next to the new shed to have a look at a lamb which wasn't putting weight on one of its legs. It took quite a while to catch and then we gave it 2ml of Engemycin intravenously.
After that we went back into the shed and bottle fed the cade lambs.
We topped up all the hays and waters and penned up some more newborns. We're running low on small pens because the lambs can't go outside because the weather is so bad.
At the end of the day I took home 2 of the weaker cade lambs to bottle feed during the night to. They are called Greg and Bluebelle :D
They are bottle fed with a powdered milk called Lamlac, made up with hot water (4oz Lamlac to 1 pint water), and fed every few hours. They'll go back to the farm with me on Sunday.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lambing - Day 9

I got to the farm just before 8 today.
We did the usual routine - bed down all pens with straw, change hays and water and feed all the sheep. I got all the nerborn lambs out of the big pens, and out them into smaller pens with their mothers and then dipped their navels in Iodine and gave them 1 pump of Spectam.
After that I got on with the rubber ringing the lambs, Scabivax'ing them, trimming the ewes feet and then spraying on ID numbers.

Louises rare breed Charolais lambs needed weighing today, it is something to do with the breed standards and seeing how much weight they've been putting on. So we drove up to the field and set up the race so that there was a pen, a raceway with a gate on the side (so we could let the ewes out and only weigh the lambs) and the scales were at the very end.
We chased them down to the corner and rounded them all up into the pen and started weighing them and recording their ear tag number and weight.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lambing - Day 7

Back Lambing today at 8 and when I got there we did as usual and fed and watered all of the pens. We also bedded them all down with stray and gave everyone fresh hay.
Next we put the newborn lambs and ewes into the newly bedded down pens, and gave the lambs a squirt of Spectam in their mouths and Iodine on their umbilical cords.
Me + Lois castrated the males and docked the tails of the lambs due to go out into the field and trimmed the ewes feet. We took it in turns, so I would do the lambs, while Lois did the ewes, and then swapped so I would do the ewes and Lois would do the lambs.
Then we loaded the ewes and their lambs into the trailer, and sent them outside into the fields.

We then fed the sheep and changed all the waters and left at 4.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lambing - Day 6

Today is Easter Sunday, and I'm Lambing :D
I got there at 8, and Lois was already there with Louise.
We changed all the waters, and replaced all the hays and then strawed down all of the pens.
Me + Lois fed the big pens, and Louise fed all the small pens.
We took out the newborn Lambs from the big pens, and put them into smaller pens with their mothers.
We walked out 8 ewes and all of their lambs into one of the fields, and carried out 2 sets of triplets and the 2 ewes into the paddock next to the sheds. Most of the twins and triplets which were in the paddock were all cuddled up under one of the big trees, and the ewes were all spread out, so we spent a long time chasing the ewes and lambs around, getting the right lambs and ewes with corresponding numbers back together. The lambs all had a good feed and stayed with their
Lois + Me prepared the lambs (castrating, docking tails and Scabivax and ewes to go outside, and we also sprayed I.D. numbers on them.
While we were doing that, Louise was out on the quad bike checking all of the fields making sure no lambs were lost.
When Louise got back we loaded up the lambs and ewes and sent those out into the fields.

There was a ewe which has been having trouble lambing all day, so we stepped in and I helped the ewe to deliver it.
We fed, watered and gave hay to all of the sheep.
Mom and Brother came to pick me up to go home and Louise saw something which looked like a newborn lamb in the top field.
Me + Nathan my brother got in the trailer, while Lois got on the quad bike and drove up to the top of the field. When we got there there was a ewe lying down with a newborn lamb, and there was a dead lamb with her aswell. We put both lambs into the trailer and eventually got the ewe in aswell. Lois + Nathan got into the trailer with the sheep and lamb, and I drove us back down to the shed.
We put the ewe into a pen, and gave the lamb some spectam and dipped its umbilical cord in iodine. We put the lamb into the pen under a heat lamb, and left at 3.30.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lambing - Day 5

I did another day of Lambing today which started at 8, which is a bit later than we've been starting before.
It was pretty much the same routine, feed and water both sheds, give all the sheep hay and bed down all the pens, and then we checked on all the lambs which were born during the night.
I Lambed a big single lamb today, which the ewe had been trying to deliver for hours, so we stepped in and helped her.
After that we prepared the ewes and lambs which were ready to go out into the field, and sent them out.
We left at 4pm.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lambing - Day 4

Back at the farm today for day 4 of Lambing. I'm really enjoying it so far.
Nothing too different happened today. Me + Lois fed and watered the sheep in both sheds and in all the small pens.
We then sorted out the lambs which were born during the night, and penned up the ewes with them.
After that we prepared the lambs and their mothers to go out into the field together. So after we'd prepared them we set up some hurdles to that the ewes couldn't escape and loaded them 3 at a time into the trailor and they went outside.

I saw a ewe lambing, and managed to get a few pictures:
After we'd fed and watered the 2 sheds, I left at 4.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lambing - Day 3

Today is the first day of the Easter Holidays :D
I got to the farm for 7am and did the hays and waters in the new shed.
I strawed down both sheds.
At 8, Lois who I used to work at Ash End Farm turned up! She is here on a 2 week University Placement (she is a 1st year vet student).

We all fed the sheep and got the newborn lambs from the big pens into the little pens and Iodine and Spectamed them.
We freed up a few more little pens by turning out some of the older lambs into the field. We've put a set of triplets out into the paddock next to the shed so we can keep an eye on them.

We rubber ringed some of the lambs tails and castrated them, and trimmed the ewes hooves. Then we sprayed I.D. numbers onto the ewes and lambs.
I helped to deliver my first lamb! :D
I put on a huge shoulder length glove and then using my fingers, felt my way inside and felt that the 2 front legs were facing forward with the head. I got hold of the legs and made sure they bonded to one single lamb, because otherwise if it was 2 lambs you would pull them apart and rip their legs. It was only one lamb so I waited for the ewe to contract, and then working with her, pulled the lamb out.
You have to pull it out and then straight away clear the membrane off the lambs face and inside the mouth and next pinch the nose to make it sneeze. If it doesn't sneeze poke some clean straw into the nose to clear it so it is breathing. You get some straw and rub the lamb to get it breathing and then put the lamb in front of the ewe so that she licks it clean and bonds with it.
We changed the hay and waters and went home at 4.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lambing - Day 2

I got to the farm for 7am.
I got out all the lambs and ewes which were born during the night, and put them into the smaller pens. I dipped the lambs navels in Iodine so they they do not get infected, and I squirted 1 pump of 'Spectam' into their mouth, which prevents them getting 'Watery Mouth Disease'.
I then strawed down all the 4 X4 pens and gave them fresh hay in their hay racks, and strawed down the big pens.

Because the weather last night was really stormy, one of the older ewes died in the lambing shed and 8 lambs were found dead in the field which were just a few days old.
Louise went up on the quad bike and checked all the lambs in the fields, and brought back the ill lambs with their ewes and put them in the small pens in the shed under heat lamps.
We fed all the big pens, and gave the small pens 1 level scoop of sheep nuts.

Then I went up on the quad bike to feed some sheep in the next field up - and I slipped on the mud when I was getting off the bike :P !!

There is another girl there today on Work Experience called Charlotte, who has applied for Vet School this year. Louise, John, Charlotte and I went up to the far field on the quad bike (John drove, we were in the trailer) and we bought back more ill lambs and ewes. We loaded up 1 ewe and lambs into the trailer, and walked down 8 ewes and their lambs into the shed. They all went into one of the big pens we made free.

John, Charlotte + me went over to the new shed to vaccinate the 90 ewes we had left from yesterday. ME and Charlotte made up the 10ml syringes of Engemycin, while John turned and injected the ewes.
The problem that they have can be vaccinated against, but as they weren't aware they had the problem until recently, they were too late as they should be vaccinated before 'tupping'. (Tupping is another name for mating, which is done in August for the lambs to be born in March.)

After vaccinating the ewes, Louise showed me and Charlotte hot to stomach tube lambs which are not taking milk from the ewe, or that refuse a bottle. You can tell by looking at the lamb if it is not drinking as its stomach is small, once full it is big and round.
After milking a ewe, you have to put a catheter tube attached to a syringe with the plunger removed into the lambs mouth and push it slowly down the lambs throat. When it is down the throat, you have to listen to the end of the syringe, and if you can head breathing you are in the lungs, not the stomach, so you have to pull it out and try again. The syringe is filled with milk and it slowly trickles down into the lambs stomach. Another few lambs were born today, so I took the lambs out by picking them up with their front legs and making sure the ewe follows. The lambs are held by their front legs so that the ewe can see and small the lamb and will follow, and it also allows you to carry twins in one hand and open gates etc with the other hand. If the ewe does not follow you have to imitate the sound of the lamb and the ewe usually follows. I then dipped the lambs navels in Iodine and gave them Spectam.
After filling up the hay racks and changing the waters, I left the farm at about 4pm.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lambing :D - Day 1

Today was my first day Lambing at the farm in Hints at it was really good. I got there at 6am and it was still dark. The farmers are called Louise and John and are really nice. The sheep are all in 2 big sheds - an old one and a brand new one. The older shed is separated 7 into different pens with 30 ewes in which are due to lamb either one lamb, twins or triplets. Then there are some smaller 4 X 4 pens which the newborn lambs and ewes go into so that the lambs and mothers do not get mixed up and lost. The new shed has 5 big pens and then the smaller pens.
The ewes are all scanned with an ultrasound machine and are marked with a coloured dot on their back which tells us how many lambs they are due with. Green means 1 lamb, no dot means twins, and a red dot means they are due to have triplets. This helps because we can see that once they have delivered one lamb we know if they are due to have another or not.
My first job was to go round all the pens and check for lambs born during the night.
We then put 2 bales of straw into each big pen and bedded them down. Then came one of the funniest jobs - feeding! Each pen has one big bucket of sheep nuts which is taken from a bigger barrow. As soon as the sheep hear the noise they go crazy and really loud. Then you have to try and get into the pen with 30 sheep all trying to get into your bucket, and spread the food out in a horseshoe shape so that they can all get to some food. I got stuck in the middle of the sheep and had to struggle to get out and spread out the food !! :D

It is quite clever because as a ewe only has 2 teats, they are fine with single and twins, but they cannot cope with triplets, so the 3rd triplet is fostered on to the single ewe. The triplet is taken to the single lamb ewe as soon as the single lamb born, and covered in all the lambing fluids so that the ewe thinks it is her lamb and licks it clean, and bonds with it. She is then put into 'stocks' so that the triplet can suckle, and it will start to smell of the ewe.
If the ewe rejects the lamb, or the natural mother rejects a ewe the lamb has to be bottle fed - it is called a 'cade' lamb and is bottle fed with a replacement milk - Lamlac.
Once the lambs are a few days old and have a dry umbilical cord and are generally strong enough, they are ready to go out into one of the fields. Before this can happen they need to be 'prepared'.
The lambs tails are docked so that their bums do not get dirty and clogged, and males are castrated. This is both done using a small rubber castration rubber ring which is put on using special applicators. The tail is left just over an inch long (by law they have to be under a certain length so they don't become dirty + matted, but not too short). Eventually both testicles and tails will lose circulation and will drop off after a few weeks.
They lambs also need to be vaccinated against "Orf" - a swelling of the mouth which comes out on their lips - which is done using a special applicator which gives a measured dose, you click it down and then scratch the inside of the lambs leg with the "Scabivax" to make sure the dose is absorbed by the body.
The ewes also need to be wormed by inserting a tube into her mouth and pumping the gun so that the wormer goes into her throat. You also need to turn her by having her on your left hand side, hold her chin with your right hand and push her head to the left and up against her body. With your left hand push down on her bum so she sits down and sits in between your legs. Then her hooves need to be trimmed and cut flat so it as a greyish white colour. If you cut too much the hoof will bleed. The lamb and ewe need to be sprayed with matching I.D. numbers on their side, a different colour is used for single lambs, twins and triplets.

Then we loaded the sheep and lambs into a small trailer attached to a quad bike, 3 ewes and her lambs at a time and they were drove up to the field.

There is an abortion problem at the moment which is caused by an infection they can catch. They become affected and 1 year later they abort their lambs. They have caught it from a few ewes which were bought in last year.

The ewes have to be injected with 10ml of 'Engemycin' which is a really thick yellow liquid. It is injected 'Intramuscularly' into the muscle of the leg. I prepared the syringed with 10ml, while John turned, injected and marked each ewe with a green dot on her head. Today we injected 9 out of the 12 pens.

We fed and watered the sheep in both sheds, and then went up to one of the other fields where the pedigree 'Charolais' sheep are kept. We fed those and filled up the milk bucket for the lambs.
I went home at about 4pm.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

One step closer - Lambing

After a few phone calls over the last few days I've finally found a Lambing placement! :D
The farm is in Hints - about 15 minutes away from here, and I've just been up to the farm to introduce myself.
They have around 600 sheep, which are all going to be brought inside the sheds in a few weeks, so we will be Lambing indoors.
I'm really excited and I'm starting on the 15th March at 6 o'clock in the morning! but it will be worth it.