It was a chilly night when Sally and I headed out to Dunns Farm to learn about the basics of lambing. Wellies and waterproof trousers and hats on, postcode in the satnav and off we went into the night.
We soon arrived at the enormous barn and were greeted with a smile and a cup of tea by the lovely Vets Amy and Kelly from Castle Veterinary Group. We filled out our forms and all huddled together on the hay bales among the many sheep with their lambs and some pregnant mothers about to drop.
Amy started by taking us through some signs of when a lamb is about to go in to labour and what to look out for that may indicate that the ewe is in trouble and needs some help with her delivery. They showed us the tools of the trade (nooses and loops,), and how and where to attach them. We all got gloved up and had a go in the simulator using dead lambs which though grizzily, did give a very realistic feel and meant you could put the nooses and ropes in the right places. We were given many scenarios of what could happen including breach lambs, twins, tangled and so on. It turns out it was a lot harder than one would expect and will be even harder if having to do so on a real sheep where there is not a lot of room to play with!
After the fun of helping to deliver lambs in the simulator we were given instructions on how to tag the sheep and dock their tails. This must cover the genitals and there are fines if you get this wrong it turns out. Then there was a lesson in castration which I have to say had me wincing.
We all finished with another cup of tea and bit of a chat before getting our frozen feet into the truck to thaw out. Hopefully now we are fully equipped to deal with any actuality that arises during lambing season and we will have a field full of frolicking lambs for all our lovely guests to see, touch and maybe even feed.
A big thanks to Castle Vets, especially Amy and Kelly for a great course.