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2012 Lambing at Eastside

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After a kind winter, we’ve had a bumper lambing with lots of twins. Although the winter was good and we had an unusually warm March, spring itself was quite callous with cold east winds and rain. Our lamb warming box (high tech wooden box with metal grill and electric blow heater positioned underneath) was in action most days!

With 1400 breeding ewes lambing from mid April, it’s a busy time. Most ewes manage all on their own but all have to be checked several times daily which in itself is time consuming with the problem ewes and lambs adding into this. Problems range from ewes with birthing difficulties to newborn lambs that haven’t found the milk supply- all needing urgent attention.

Any new born lambs that were a bit slow to get going and sample some of their mother’s first milk or colostrum succumbed to the cold winds and needed a bit of TLC in the shed. When this happens, the ewe and lamb(s) have to be caught in the field or on the hill (mother being more of a problem to catch than the lamb at this stage) and shipped into the sheep shed by Ali on the quad bike. There the lamb is assisted in feeding from its mother (every 4 hours) until sufficiently recovered.

New born lambs have special brown fat which helps them maintain body temperature in combination with their mother’s milk. Sometimes, if the lamb is more than 5 hours old and hasn’t found the milk supply, hypothermia (body temperature below normal) sets in and it needs an injection of glucose as well as a spell in the warming box as it is running so low on energy. Without the glucose the lamb would warm up but die because it’s blood sugar level is so low. After this treatment, it will recover quickly and can be tube fed it’s mother’s milk which is full of antibodies to give the immune system a kick start. There is a huge amount of job satisfaction in watching the change from freezing lamb to a frolicking one!

One of our pet lambs, a two year old ewe or gimmer called Brenda lambed for the first time this spring. She is instantly recognisable by her funny stumpy horns and was born and abandoned in the terrible spring blizzard of 2010. She is showing great mothering skills considering she has been an orphan from birth.

The occasional break from the relentless wind and rain had a remarkable effect on us and the sheep- all had more energy and fewer problems to deal with!

If you are interested in more details and photographs, please see our Seasonal Farm Brochure.

Lambing in the Pentland Hills Edinburgh

Lambing in the Pentland Hills Edinburgh ↑

Photography by Michael Rummey

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