Video from one of the lambing night shifts

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Video from one of the lambing night shifts

Post by Eleanor on Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:00 pm



These are the kayed or 'pet' lambs, which are hand-reared on a temporary or permanent basis. This is usually because a ewe has rejected one or all of her lambs; the rejected lambs are put into the kayed lamb enclosure to be bottle-fed under heat lamps. If a ewe has a stillborn lamb, an attempt can be made to foster one of the kayed lambs onto her. It doesn't always work - one of the ewes on the night shift (the prolapsed one, which I mentioned before) gave birth to two stillborn lambs, which both had died in the womb a few days prior to birthing. She was given a kayed lamb to foster, but rejected it, so it was returned to the pen. There were quite a few who were successfully fostered onto ewes, though. happy

Aaaaaanyway. The video shows the 4:00 AM post-feeding frenzy. tongue The moment I stepped into the pen, I was mobbed by a pile of lambs, so I sat down and waited for them to calm down. The pushy little lamb climbing all over my lap was attempting to suckle from the zip on my overalls pocket. laughing

Also, I don't know how clear it is in the video, but if you look at about four seconds in, there's a lamb with '38' spray-painted onto his side. The poor little guy wasn't very well. sad His belly was severely bloated and he'd barely eat anything. He couldn't even lie down without help.

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Re: Video from one of the lambing night shifts

Post by Lorraine on Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:38 pm

Lovely! Takes me back to when I was your age - I can just about remember happy

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Re: Video from one of the lambing night shifts

Post by Eleanor on Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:08 pm

Have you done lambing before? happy

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Re: Video from one of the lambing night shifts

Post by Lorraine on Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:54 pm

Yes, I worked on a sheep farm over the Easter holidays from school, and from Agricultural college; and also on a research station in Wales as my placement for my HND. I loved every minute of it; despite the hard work, it was worth it.

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Re: Video from one of the lambing night shifts

Post by LyndaW on Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:52 pm

Although a country girl, I'm "sheep ignorant", never having much to do with them (horses and cattle were more my field).

So I'm curious - why do sheep need so much human intervention when lambing?

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Re: Video from one of the lambing night shifts

Post by Eleanor on Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:15 pm

Lorraine wrote:Yes, I worked on a sheep farm over the Easter holidays from school, and from Agricultural college; and also on a research station in Wales as my placement for my HND.  I loved every minute of it; despite the hard work, it was worth it.

Ooh, that sounds amazing! What was your favourite part?

LyndaW wrote:Although a country girl, I'm "sheep ignorant", never having much to do with them (horses and cattle were more my field).

So I'm curious - why do sheep need so much human intervention when lambing?

I've not had much to do with them either until this year, to be honest. tongue

It sounds worse than it is, I think. Most of the ewes were able to give birth easily and quickly, without assistance. It was mainly the shearling ewes which had problems, as it was their first time. Generally, problems arise because sheep have been selectively bred to produce multiple offspring. Twins are often seen and triplets aren't particularly uncommon. On one of the night shifts I was on, two sets of quadruplets were also born! The lambs tend to be quite big, as well. Particularly single or twin lambs. They're often too large to allow easy birth, so intervention can be necessary. Multiple offspring can also require intervention, as the ewe may become too exhausted.

The main problems we saw were with stillborn lambs, which sadly just seems to happen sometimes. Running the risk of sounding morbid, the lambs begin to decompose if they die in the womb, which can lead to complications during birth. This is what happened to the prolapsed ewe, who was so exhausted, she barely had the strength to lift her head.

There's also post-birth complication, such as rejection of the lamb. But the ewes are quite hardy and usually know what to do. happy

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Re: Video from one of the lambing night shifts

Post by LyndaW on Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:25 pm

Thank you Eleanor. Are ewes being bred to particularly big rams these days?

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Re: Video from one of the lambing night shifts

Post by Eleanor on Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:16 pm

I think it depends on the breed. The flock I was with were artificially inseminated, and then turfed out into a field with a ram, who 'picked up' any of the ewes who were missed. From what I saw of the ram, he was a big boy! Hard to tell with all of the wool though laughing

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Re: Video from one of the lambing night shifts

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