Hello all and welcome to the Livestock Farming blog. This post is the final part of a 3-part series about #Lambing16, with our guest sheep farmers Jodi, James, Gillian & Ian, and Rachel & Shaun who are farmers from various areas of the UK.
This final post of the series is about the farmers looking forward to #Lambing17 and what they will do differently given what they’ve learned.
Qu: Looking forward to #Lambing17, what do you think you’ll do differently?
G&I: We lamb indoors in an old pole barn which is all a bit higgledy-piggledy. With the breed mix and numbers changing over the years we now have some overly friendly sheep who make getting around the shed and feeding rather difficult as they push and barge to get to the trough (or my feed bucket) first ahead of the more polite ewes. We plan to extend the shed and set up more organised lambing pens with groups separated by both raddle mark and number of lambs being carried and to use walk through feed barriers so I can get about without being knocked over!
JF: In the run up to #Lambing17 I will be putting them in with the tup in December, this is because I will be lambing for another farm next April and with the weather being as awful as it has been this month I would rather have them a month later than a month earlier. I will be a little more experimental when it comes to flushing the ewes this year, in the respect of boluses and a different teaser ram and I am also looking to buy in a tup from a twin litter this year, probably texel/blue texel.
JR: For #Lambing17 I’ll look for lambing work sooner, I feel I left it far too late for 2016 to find any proper placements/work. This year taught me to work on my organisational skills more and note which lambs came into the bonding pens on what days, what treatment they needed and why. Going from one farm and then onto someone else's setup at another place and jumping straight in took some getting used to.
R&S: We'll definitely be re-thinking which field we keep the ewes in prior to lambing. Additionally we'll make sure we get any fencing repairs done well in advance, rather than it being a last-minute job, so it's one less thing to worry about. At tupping time also we'll try a different routine, to give us a better idea of when each ewe will lamb. This last year we had our ram in for three weeks, with a different colour raddle each week, which has meant we know which ewes should lamb in a particular week. However we'd like to be a bit more exact, so are planning to get the ewes in at the end of each day and make a note of the ear tags of the ewes that are marked. This way not only will we know which week a ewe should lamb in, but which should lamb first, second, etc.
Think it’s fair to say, that’s a wrap. Thank you so much to our guests Jodi, James, Gillian & Ian, and Rachel & Shaun who have all been fantastic giving up their time to share their stories from #Lambing16. The stories have been inspiring, emotionally draining, and incredibly insightful.
If you do have any comments about this post or the series as a whole, please comment below, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this post and what you’d like to see. Otherwise, please do tweet and follow us at @Sheep_Farmers for the latest news affecting UK sheep farmers today.
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