By the barn March 2019
Posted: 27th Feb 2019
“The sixth sick Sheiks sixth sheeps sick”- supposed by some to be one of the most difficult tongue twisters in the English language and our sheep do indeed come to the fore this month, as we start lambing.
Many farmers begun weeks ago and their lambs will be outside and taking advantage of the new spring grass, as it begins to grow.
The daylight hours have extended and the sunshine has some warmth, so as soon as the earth warms up enough, the growth is triggered. The clocks go forward ( we lose an hour of sleep) ,Spring has arrived!
For the last six weeks we have been supplementing the ewes with some extra feed in the form of ewe rolls- a concentrated pellet that contains protein, vitamins and minerals to help her nutrition. This is when the lambs inside her are growing fastest and taking more from her. We also want her to milk well after their birth and be healthy.
I’ve also checked over our lambing cupboard to make sure we have enough of everything, such as elastic bands for castration, marker sprays for identification, iodine and surgical spirit for cord dipping to prevent infection, antiseptic foot sprays incase the ewe shows signs of lameness and powdered colostrum just in case.
Other not so important items might include lambing ropes ( for difficult births) but we can always use soft cords or baler twine, as long as we’re careful, plastic gloves ( but we can make sure we wash our hands/ arms thoroughly first), various drenches/ tubes etc.
We’ve brought some hay in ( small bales for us, as they’re easiest for us to handle in the lambing shed) as sheep like it, straw for bedding the shed and the lambing pens and cleaned buckets, as hygiene is very important.
If the weather is suitably warm and spring arrives early the farmers will be beginning their field work for the spring sown crops and also preparing the grass for silaging. This might need fertilising and rolling to encourage it to tiller ( spread its roots out further) in order to provide lots of nutritious feed to be preserved for next winter.
Hedge cutting has stopped now and our little stretch of worn out hawthorns has been laid to reinvigorate them and has also been fenced to prevent damage by nibbling sheep and cattle. There may be a bit of replanting needed to fill gaps.
We will see the occasional butterfly or moth around if we have some warm and sunny days or maybe a caterpillar or several will flop onto the paths from the overhanging bushes as they start the cycle of life again.
Flowers are becoming easier to spot and the early celandines are turning their face to the sun once again.
And maybe we will have brexit or maybe we won’t! Uncertainty will not help our industry and who knows how our lamb trade will fare? But the farming year carries on regardless!
Posted by: Angela