FARMING MATTERS: Getting ready for lambing

Ewe and lambs. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt

Ewe and lambs. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt

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Spring is in the air (or at least, it was when I was writing this). The garden is a carpet of snowdrops, the daffodils are shooting through the grass, and speaking of the grass, that too is definitely growing and soon we shall be back into lawn mower season.

And of course on the farm spring means new life with the arrival of this year’s calves and lambs.

My husband has been getting the sheep prepared for lambing, by bringing them all indoors into a big airy shed where he can create individual pens as and when they lamb. Fortunately, most of the ewes will lamb successfully on their own, but some will need assistance, and so he will visit them several times a day from now on to ensure all goes well.

Approximately 70 percent of fetal growth occurs during the last four to six weeks of pregnancy and most of the ewe’s mammary (udder) growth is occurring during this period too, to ensure there is a plentiful milk supply once the lambs are born.

So it is essential to get the feeding and nutrition right to support the growing lambs, especially if there are multiple fetuses involved, which there often are with sheep.

It’s a busy but enjoyable time, newborn lambs are a real perk of farming life and it’s a joy to watch them grow and develop and race about the pens before turn out.