Our Year 8 student journalist Sam Milson tells us about his recent experience helping with the lambing on his grandmother’s smallholding…
I deeply love the Easter season because of lambing time. My Grandma owns a small amount of ewes and a tup (male sheep). She puts the tup in the field so that he can mate with the ewes then she takes extra care in checking that they are lambing okay.
Some sheep need help in lambing whilst some don’t but if one needs help but doesn’t receive it, then the lamb will almost certainly die. But that’s where I come in, to help lamb the sheep. If it needs help then I will pull it out and make sure it is breathing. I also do other small jobs which matter very much.
One job that I had this year was to guard a tied up sheep. Some sheep show malevolence towards their lambs because they might smell differently if they are twins. And in this case the ewe did not like one of her lambs and was acting very maliciously towards it. Not only was that a problem but she would not let the little lamb feed. So my Grandma, being a very clever woman, put the two lambs in a tightly packed cage so that they smell the same, but also tied the ewe up when it was feeding time so that both lambs would get a sufficient amount of milk.
One problem with this was that the ewe could strangle herself, that’s why I had to watch her. And now she loves both lambs equally and protects them both the same amount!
Also, in lambing it is very expensive to buy milk powder for pet lambs and more mineral pellets for older ones and if you don’t get money back from the sales of the lambs then you lose a considerable amount of money.
That is the main reason why it is such a disappointment when a lovely lamb doesn’t make it. In one case that we have had this year, a little lamb had half formed in the ewe’s body, but only half, so when she was ready to lamb she was struggling. We got it out, it was a massive disappointment to find out that it was a lost cause and a loss of a cute little lamb.
So I suppose we have our ups and downs in lambing but it’s all worth it in the long run. The money is an added extra I suppose because the thing we enjoy the most are the sleepless nights, the enjoyable feeling of new life and helping the ewe to raise such adorable animals.
By Samuel Milson, Year 8