As new entrants to farming we have been learning from our guru, Peter. A man with over 65 years experience in raising livestock. As a breed our welsh mountain, badger-face sheep are good mothers and tend to have few difficulties birthing. Still, it’s not an activity to take on with no first hand experience. It’s been a very different learning curve to university studies and we now have 35 healthy lambs.
The key points we’ve taken from it are:
Routinely check on the sheep to spot if any are having problems giving birth.
Once born, sterilise the umbilical cord with iodine and make sure you keep the right lamb with the right ewe*.
Watch to make sure the lamb is suckling properly and the mother is producing enough milk.
We have not castrated our ram lambs, as is often common practice. It is argued that the flavour of the testosterone comes out in the meat. Let boys be boys and cook your dish according to the flavours of your meat!
*When thinking of lambing a ewe will try and 'steal' another ewe's lamb but then reject it after giving birth. This lamb would then require bottle feeding as it's original mother would also not accept it. To manage this, as soon as possible after birth we shut the mother and lamb in a pen in which they can bond in peace.