Lambing proper started on the day that the ewe died. So I'll describe what occurs in a "normal " 48 hours.
15th March 02
3.30am The OH gets up to check on the ewes, one of the ewes is lambing so he gets me up. Red 21 has twin lambs, I give each lamb a rub down with a towel then put it to the ewe to suckle having first made sure that the ewe has milk in both udders. The lambs navel is cleaned with iodine to prevent infection. We then move the ewe and her two lambs to one of the bonding pens where they will stay for 24/48 hours. Write up the birth in the lambing book and on the board[in the lambing shed] note which pen the ewe and lambs is in with the date.
4.30am back to bed for a couple of hours.
7.30am get up, check the ewes and lambs, all quiet. Have a cup of tea!!
8.00am feed ewes then feed and water ewes in the bonding pens. Buckets are no longer left in the pens after a lamb drowned in one overnight!!!!!. We have 12/14 individual pens so when they are all full it takes quite a while to feed and water them all.
8.30am Number 1 has twins as does Yellow 26. Deal with the ewes and lambs put them in their pens. Write up book and board. Let the rest of the ewes out. Go and feed the other ewes.
10.30am check ewes
12.30pm Red 27 has twins out in the field. Dry the lambs , bring in ewe and lambs to pen. Write up book and board.
3.00pm check ewes
5.00pm bring in ewes , feed, Yellow 32 has twins, deal with them as above. Feed and water for the ewes in the bonding pens. Feed and check the rest of the ewes.
7.00pm check ewes
9.00pm check ewes
11.00pm check ewes. Bed.
16th March 02
3.00am OH gets up to check, there is a ewe starting so I get up. Red 11 has twins. Back to bed by 4am.
7.00am White 17 has twins, Blue 33 has twins
12 noon Green 73 has twins
3.00pm Red 26 has twins
3.30pm Yellow 24 has twins
5.30pm Red 28 has twins.
Next day starts again at 2.00am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In between dealing with the lambs we also have to put clean straw down each day in the lambing sheds, fill up the hay racks, fill up the water troughs in the buildings and in the fields. And each day we have to move ewes and lambs from the bonding pens to the field, and then clean out the pens ready for the next occupants.
When the ewes with their lambs go out to the field there are a number of things we have to do first.
Each ewe has a number sprayed on each side of her body, the same number is sprayed onto her lambs[red for single lambs, blue for twins and triplets] if a lamb and it's mother get separated we can reunite them quickly. It took us several years of trial and error to come up with this system. Each lamb has a band put on it's tail and if male will have a band on it's balls aswell OUCH!!!!! Then a lamb tag with our herd number and an individual lamb number goes in the lambs ear. The lamb is then ready to go out to the field. We take the ewes and lambs in small groups to the field but it can be quite a struggle to get them all moving in the right direction, we often have to carry the lambs. Not easy when they are wriggling and bleating.
After the first few days we have the ewes that are due and being brought in at night, the second group that will lamb after the first group, the third group that we are not sure about but still need checking and of course the ewes with their lambs who require extra feeding and surveillance. Our other animals also need the usual attention, we are the last on the list!!!!!!!!!
Some days seem to be endless but when you have bonding pens full of healthy twins it's worth all the effort.
And then of course there are the orphan lambs, the triplets and the quads but that's another story!!!!!!!!!