Curlew Country relies on the strong working relationships with its Farming Partners. Rhian Pinches farms with her dad and partner and juggles working life with bringing up a young family. This year she is doing a regular Blog update on the Spring season. This is the first of this new series, with the next one to come soon!
Lambing, 25th March – 1st April
The proposed idea was that I would portray a weekly account of lambing time on our farm and a brief diary of what the Curlew here are up to, however, it is now 16th April at 11.45pm and I am just writing this post without a draft copy because if I don’t get on with it now, another day/week will pass by and I still won’t have written it!
So, in this week, the lambing of 2020 was due to kick off; the weather was perfectly dry, however slightly cool, but amazing for the end of March all the same! The ground was drying so fast and you could see such improvement every single day. Dry ground makes a world of difference to fresh lambs arriving; the difference between a new born lamb landing on wet or dry turf is quite literally a matter of life or death.
This week brought with it all the little jobs that needed doing in preparation for lambing time. Constructing pens in the shed ready to bring ‘problem’ sheep into and setting up heat lamps for poorly lambs and the vet/Wynnstay stocktake and ‘shopping’ are all prime examples. We built about 35 pens in the shed, a larger release pen and a little loading/unloading area because although we lamb outdoors, there is always a miss-mothering ewe or a ewe who gives birth to a dead lamb and needs an adopted lamb, so we always have ewes and lambs being lugged into the building. When I say shopping, there are two types; type 1 – medicine and equipment, such as prolapse straps, iodine, lime and disinfectant for example, and type 2 – Food. Food for us, quick convenience, snacky food that we can grab in a hurry but also plenty of ingredients to throw into the slow-cooker so that at the end of the day we can come in to a hot, fuss free meal… basically… a massive food shop to fill the freezer and save leaving home for a few weeks (which has obviously become the norm at the moment anyway!)
This week, we pushed the ewes up onto our mowing ground at home ready to lamb. We had 10 ewes lamb down on the rented ground where the ewes were wintered which was the indication that we had best move them up. Moving them up onto grass means that we stop all supplementary feeding as they’re getting everything they need from the better, fresher grass. (The ewe rolls, silage and feed buckets that we had used in the build up to this move are no longer required). However, the move onto thick grass also meant that prolapses began to occur in the ewes due to their bellies being so full of lamb and within hours, a massive amount of grass! When a ewe prolapses, we wash the ‘aid’, gently but firmly push it back in to the correct place (inside the ewe!) whilst holding the ewe upside down. We then use her wool and thin bits of string; the string is tied around the base of four sections of her wool (two either side of her… area) and then once secure, push either side together and tie them together also. Lets face it, if baler twine won’t fix it, nothing will! (We also use aid straps as I mentioned before if the ewe continues to try and push herself inside out!) the ewe will then have a course of Synulox to help her recovery. If you’re wondering what happens to the lambs inside the ewe after this ordeal… they are normally fine!
By this week, we had noted four pairs of Curlew on our farm, and all fairly close to one another it seemed. (My little girl thinks that they’re seagulls when she hears them and says that they remind her of the beach) It is so lovely to see them back again and we really hope that they can be successful this year! I’m going to track them and keep some clips which I will share on my instagram account ‘@the_farmer_not_the_wife’
I will try and play catch up with the lambing updates, but it’s now 0025 hours and I need to go and top the lambs up in the shed. Night feeds were for my baby but now it’s for lambs instead.