Springtime In The Yorkshire Dales
Don’t you love seeing the fields full of new born lambs skipping, jumping, and playing? It’s not only a sign that spring has arrived, but it has that feel good factor too.
Lambs have been appearing all over the Yorkshire Dales and I’ve been active getting some hands-on-experience working with my Uncle Richard and Auntie Clare on their farm. It’s been useful as I qualified with a BTEC in agricultural studies many years ago and being able to work on the farm is great as it enables me to get more expert knowledge for when my two black Valais nose sheep Izzy and Ida start to lamb in 2023.
I can’t tell you how much fun it is, and I am looking to a few more days this month before the lambing season finishes. It’s so rewarding seeing the new lambs being born and the mothers taking care of them, although lambing isn’t for the faint hearted - there’s a lot of mess involved as well as casualties which are sad moments.
I got involved for my first day when Uncle Richard was nearly halfway through his flock inside the lambing shed. It’s hard to describe how busy it was as all hands-on deck were watching the ewes who were about to give birth and then moving mothers and lambs to the fields.
Within 30 minutes of arriving on the farm I was helping deliver my first lamb. Auntie Clare pointed out the things I needed to be looking out for and the best techniques for delivery.
Uncle Richard explained that some ewes pace around for hours and it’s not always that quick, but I was taken by surprise by one sheep that started to lamb, and I really didn’t expect it to come so quickly!
There’s so much going on and of course, some ewes can give birth without assistance, but the lambing shed was hectic; multiple births happening at the same time so we needed to get them out quickly, otherwise it could lead to lambs getting muddled up and stop potential complications.
After a lamb has been born it’s important to spray the navel of the new-born with iodine, a formula shepherds have used for decades to manage and treat disease. Its primary purpose is mainly to disinfect and dehydrate the wet navel of the new-born lamb.
As you can imagine it was a busy day on the farm, checking the lambing shed, delivering new lambs, inspecting the week and two-week-old lambs around the fields, moving lambs to the penned areas so they could bond with their mums, feeding and ensuring the pet lambs were ok and so much more.
I’m getting excited as I build my knowledge and experience in readiness for delivering my own lambs next year.