After some time in the nursery the ewes and lambs are ready to go out in the field.
It a simple last-minute check to ensure the lambs are fit and healthy and then full speed ahead out to the field. To turn the ewes and lambs out is a bit of a fun game- if you are watching that is!
If you imagine a pen with about 30 mommy ewes and lambs- now imagine 1 lamb gets taken out the pen, one mom calling her ewe and walking round looking for it- not too bad. By the time you get the 20th lamb the game gets a lot harder, the lambs get trickier to catch as more and more ewes start running around calling to their lambs- very amusing to watch the person catching the lambs and a bit of a workout if you are the one doing the catching!
Once all the lambs are safely caught and loaded onto the trailer it’s time to get the ewes ready. Because they are all together we use it as an opportunity to worm them. Just like dogs have worming tablets, ewes have a medicine squirted into their mouth that protects them from picking up parasites in the field. This is a two-man job, when one of us squirts the medicine in the mouth, the other sprays a dot of paint on the back of their neck which allows us to spot any ewes that we have missed.
Once everybody is accounted for and ready to go- again a two-man job- we write down the tag numbers of each ewe so that we can keep a track of which ewes are in which fields. They are then all loaded into the trailer- in a separate compartment to the lambs to ensure nobody gets squished in the hurry.
Once in the field we release all of the ewes, after being indoors for lambing they can’t wait to get out and gobble down a load of fresh green grass. We then unload all of the lambs and just like the end of the school day the lambs flock into the crowd of ewes shouting out for their moms.
It’s the first time the lambs have been out in the field so there is a small amount of panic as everybody re-unites and checks each other over- then its happy days! It’s lovely to come back to the field the next day and see the lambs racing around and playing together. They tend to gather on any fallen down logs, mud mounds or trees they can hide in.
That’s it, a successful lambing for this bunch. Back on the farm lambing isn’t over, this rotation simply ensures we have room in the pens and nursery as more ewes give birth- and so it continues…