It’s been a really busy few weeks here on the farm. Lockdown started the week before we began “Lamb Watch” – the period when I start to go to bed at midnight and get up at 3am, just to check that no ewes have started lambing. That first week was very anxious as we tried to work out what this would mean for us here on the farm; how we would manage our food supplies, could we still get animal feed and veterinary medicines when we needed them and, could we have a vet visit us if we needed help at lambing?
My organised helper for lambing immediately had to withdraw. She has a pre-existing health condition and had to self-isolate, so I was left facing an intense lambing period with no help. Luckily, Liz – a vet friend of mine who is doing a PhD (so not currently working) – offered to do some nights for me, so everything seemed sorted. She came for one night and then had to go into self-isolation as she had a cough! Again, I was on my own. Always stressful when you have ewes needing help. Liz was fine, fortunately. She returned after one week and has been with us for two nights each week ever since, which allows me to get some sleep.
Emergency vet cover has continued as usual so when on one “non-Liz” night we needed help and called the vet out, he came. Our brave ewe was struggling a bit and I realised we had a very large lamb who may not make it out the normal way! The vet felt the same initially but eventually managed to gently ease him out without the need for caesarean, so a good result all round. The ewe was tired but loved her lamb enthusiastically. The lamb took a few hours to get up to speed but with some extra care and help by tube feeding, he was soon away.
When we weighed him next day we realised why the ewe had trouble. He weighed 6.9kg, 2kg more than average for our flock! We have had some fantastic lambs, some real “elephants”… Mostly the ewes have managed by themselves with only a very occasional tug from me. They are heroic and very brave girls.