Lambs Category

  • A busy Monday

    Adventures, Agricultre, Lambs, Pigs, Poultry, SheepComments (1)

    On October 7, 2014 • By

    I used to blog about busy Saturdays, but that’s not as much the case any more. Since reducing my hours at work, I am off every Monday and I now have a wee bit more time to split work between Saturday and Monday.

    This week was a bit of catch-up on Saturday, as I’d been away for work Wed-Fri the previous week. Hen houses were cleaned on Saturday and lots of other jobs too, mainly working on getting electricity connected to my portacabin. My cousin and uncle (both electricians) were over and got most of the work done. It’ll make a difference having power to the place, especially now that it’s getting dark. I’ll also have to work on lighting the hen house – although I’ve got that one figured out in my head.

    So Monday was awful, weather wise. We had gale force winds and pouring rain, so it was a day for doing indoor chores. That meant cleaning out the portacabin and organising things the way I want them. Once I have a picture in my head of how I want things to be, it’s not easy to persuade me to do something different – I have to know if my idea works!

    Once the portacabin had been sorted, it was off to the lambs with me. The Government announced a new subsidy scheme for less favoured areas earlier this year, with each ewe hogg kept meaning a payment of €100 (around £80). No one seems to be sure when it is kicking in, so I have kept every single female lamb that was born, in the hope of receiving extra payment, but I’m hearing now that it won’t kick in until next year and that means getting rid of this year’s females.

    There is one more sale here, on Thursday 16th Oct, so I have gone through my lambs and kept 18 for breeding, with 17 going. There are a few more being kept for the freezer.

    These are some of the ones I’m keeping


    As you can see, they are mainly Cheviots, as I am looking to build up my cheviot flock. There are a couple of nice Suffolk/Cheviot crosses in there too, along with some Suffolk/Roussin hybrids. I have plans for them, and we’ll see how they go.

    The rest are off to sale on the 16th, and I’ll need to borrow a trailer for the day, as mine won’t take 17.


    Next up is to book in some lambs and pigs for slaughter. October is turning into a busier month than I expected, although I am off to Glasgow for the weekend for some much needed R&R!

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  • Drenching & vaccinating

    Agricultre, Chickens, chicks, eggs, Lambs, Medicine, SheepComments (1)

    On May 25, 2014 • By

    I’m quite sore and tired from all the work yesterday; every single sheep drenched and all the lambs vaccinated.

    It was a miserable morning, so I didn’t get started with the sheep until nearly 2pm. I got the hens out of the way in the morning, cleaning out the hen house and topping up feed & water. All under the watchful eye of Bud and the relaxing cat

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    I also removed a trio of birds that I am going to breed from. I hatched these Speckled Sussex from eggs I got online last spring. Fantastic birds and I’m going to hatch a batch of my own now.

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    So on to the sheep. They are split into 4 smaller flocks, to spread them amongst the crofts. That means more work gathering and penning them. We’d probably have been done in an hour, had they all been together.

    Uisdean passed the lambs to me and I doses, injected and checked them all.

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    We worked quite well and efficiently, just the way I like it!

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    Uisdean is volunteering with me as part of his Duke of Edinburgh award. He is down most weeks and enjoys working with the sheep. He’s considering getting a couple of his own, which I think is a great idea

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  • Lambing is over

    Adventures, birth, death, Lambs, SheepComments (1)

    On May 4, 2014 • By

    I’m lying in bed at 9.30 on a Sunday morning, thankful and relieved that lambing is over for another year. It’s my favourite time of year, but it is exhausting. I worked out that i was up at 5am in 32 of the last 35 days, with my dad doing the early shift those other days.

    I’m not sure why this happened, but most of my lambing problems occurred late at night this year, whereas they were all early morning issues in 2013.

    Last year I had gimmers rejecting lambs and ewes with no milk, but this year was significantly better. A few late night lambing issues resulted in 1 or 2
    am finishes, and that makes it even tougher to get up at 5!!

    If it hadn’t been for the set of triplets I lost, I would have said it was one of my most successful lambings ever. Quite often there are a couple of lambs lost to crows/gulls or simple stuff like membrane covering their mouth after birth. Fortunately none of that this year. Every sheep has a lamb, except for the one that lost triplets (she was unwell for a week after her prolapse).

    The last one to give birth didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked, but the lambs made it out ok.

    I came home from work at around 5.30, expecting to spend the evening tidying the house, as I’ve had workmen in. This was not going to happen! First thing I do is check the sheep that’s to lamb and noticed that her water has broken. Excellent, twins will be along shortly. Wrong.

    I waited patiently but after an hour or so, I decided to catch her and have a look at what was happening. I needed help doing this, as there was no pen in the field I was keeping her. We caught her, took her into the shed and discovered that it was a breech. That means lamb coming tail first. It didn’t take too long to get the lamb out. While we were discussing how long we should leave it before going in for the twin, out it slipped! Two healthy twins.

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    So that’s it. Spent the night inside and let them out early in the morning.

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    I’m going to make the most of my sleep for a while now!

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  • Euthanised lamb

    death, Lambs, SheepComments (5)

    On April 26, 2014 • By

    Last week I posted about a vet visit for a lamb that had swollen and bleeding leg.

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    Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of matters. The lamb then lost the top layer of skin on it’s leg.

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    I was advised to keep it clean and dry and to cover it with vaseline. Basically treat it like a burn. So for 4/5 days, I took the lamb in, cleaned the leg with a drop of iodine in water, dried it and covered it in vaseline. The leg, however, got progressively worse.

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    By Sunday morning, I feared the leg was dead. It was black and cold below the knee. For some reason, blood was not circulating as it should.

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    I phoned the on call vet and discussed matters. I didn’t want to shoot it, just in case there was something the vet could do, but I already knew the outcome. As it wasn’t an emergency, I told the vet to stop by if she got a call-out in Ness, which she did around 6.30pm.

    The diagnosis didn’t take long.

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    Whatever was affecting the front left leg had also spread to the other 3 legs. There was little option but to have it put down. This was a swift and painless injection. I’ve seen it done to numerous other animals, but never a lamb. Because they’re so small, it’s injected straight into the heart, meaning they die instantly, instead of the few seconds it takes for a larger animal.

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    I think the worst thing about this experience was how lively the lamb was. If you didn’t see its legs, you would have thought it a strong and healthy lamb, as shown here.

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  • Last fortnight of lambing

    Agricultre, birth, Lambs, SheepComments (1)

    On April 26, 2014 • By

    Saturday 26th April. I still have 2 sheep left to lamb. My first lamb was 32 days ago and I have been up at 5am for 29 of the last 33 days. I cannot wait for this to finish!

    The last fortnight has seen mainly ups, but a few downs too.

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    I had some difficulty delivering this monster lamb and was is such a rush to run and get the pickup, that I didn’t notice one of my chickens sleeping on top of the wheel. One live lamb but one dead chicken :/

    I then had to get the vet out to help deliver this lamb. 2 of us had tried to deliver it, but no joy. I expected a dead lamb, by the time the vet arrived, but he managed to get it out alive. He said another 5 mins and it would have been a goner. The main problem here was that the sheep has a very narrow pelvis and the lamb was as big as she could have managed.

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    I’ll have to consider her future, but they’re outside now anyway. The lamb has interesting markings

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    This sheep lambed last Thursday (17th), meaning there were 4 left to lamb. Things went very quiet after that, with only one more lamb in the following 9 days!

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    I had a set of twins waiting for me at 5am today, so down to the last 2. A set of twins and a single. I cannot wait to get it all finished!

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  • Late night lambing

    Adventures, birth, Lambs, SheepComments (1)

    On April 15, 2014 • By

    As tends to happen, things got busy while I was away. I was playing for Ness last night, over in Point, and my father was keeping an eye on things. My brother Murdo was watching the game, and came up behind my goal with 10 mins left, saying I had to get home asap as there were problems. Not what I wanted to hear!

    Anyway, I got home and two had lambed, one which needed some help. As she was a gimmer and had some difficulty, I decided to take her in for the night. It was quite straightforward getting her in.

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    I was a little suspicious about another one, so went out to keep an eye on her. It was a beautiful, moonlit evening.

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    One of the chickens keeps escaping from the hen house, I found her sleeping under the wheel arch of the 4×4

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    By the time I reached the sheep again, the first twin had been born, and the second wasn’t far behind. A successful evening all round.

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  • Vet visit

    Adventures, Lambs, SheepComments (1)

    On April 14, 2014 • By

    Well, what a day. I had loads planned. Was going to drench the sheep that have lambed, while catching up on castrating & docking lambs, and also clean out the hen house. What did I manage? None of that. First thing was go to the barn to let out the twins that had been in since Friday night. There was some difficulty lambing them, but they came out ok in the end.

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    One of them was a little funny, so I was holding the sheep every so often, to make sure it got a feed.

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    So off I went to let them out today, as they seemed fine last night. The lamb I’ve been helping was slow to it’s feet and I noticed fresh blood down it’s leg. Uh-oh. Looked like a cut around it’s knee.

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    Off to the vet we went, for a look.

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    Turns out it wasn’t a cut, but some kind of blunt force trauma, with lots of bruising under the skin, about an inch either side of the knee. Who knows what caused it. No infection, as temperature was normal.

    The lamb was given an anti-inflammatory jag and is now back with mum. I’ll keep them in for a few more days.

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  • Live triplets

    Adventures, birth, Lambs, SheepComments (1)

    On April 13, 2014 • By

    so my first set of triplets didn’t work out. The very next day, I had a pleasant surprise awaiting me at 5.15am – another set!

    After a couple of days inside, they’re now happy as can be out with the rest!

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  • Lost Triplets

    birth, death, Lambs, SheepComments (1)

    On April 13, 2014 • By

    My start to lambing 2014 has been tough. I’ve been really busy this past week, so I haven’t been keeping the blog as up to date as I would have liked. I’ve been posting updates on the blog facebook page, but I prefer to keep the blog as a more permanent record of crofting activities.

    Anyway, last Sunday was a tough one.

    Around 6pm I noticed that one of my sheep due triplets was prolapsing. I phoned the vet and got her penned asap.

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    The vet came, fixed the prolapse and then said that the sheep had started lambing. This was actually the first prolapse that I’ve seen and was surprised at how quickly it was resolved. The lambing itself was a slow process, as the sheep took a long time opening up. At this stage, we believed the lambing had caused the prolapse, maybe due to ring womb.

    After about 2 hours work, the lambs were out. All 3 alive, and all 3 female. What a high!!

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    I had fully expected them to be dead, but was over the moon that they were alive. I left them for a wee while and came back to make sure they were on their feet and had fed. They hadn’t.

    I was getting more & more concerned about the black ones, as they were weaker and quieter. I took them into the kitchen, to make sure they were warm, dry and fed. It didn’t take long for one of them to die though.

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    I took the two live triplets out to my parents house, where we made sure they were fed and left them under the heat lamp for the night.

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    At this stage, the white one was looking strong. It was walking about and drinking from the bottle. The black one wasn’t as strong. By 9am, the white one had died, and the black one was gone shortly afterwards.

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    Heartbreaking stuff. I’ve spoken to the vet since then and deduced that the prolapse sent her into early labour, meaning the lambs were born before their lungs has correctly formed. There was little I could do, which is a shame but also reassuring.

    A week on from then, the ewe is still not back to normal. She’s a little flat and obviously in discomfort. I’ve given her penicillin during the week, but the vet gave me an anti-inflammatory and stronger antibiotic to give her. Hopefully that’ll do the trick.

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  • Tough night of lambing

    Adventures, birth, death, Lambs, SheepComments (1)

    On April 5, 2014 • By

    And there endeth my good start to lambing.

    I’m sitting at home, buzzing and deflated, if that’s possible. Had quite a dramatic evening; looked out my window at 9pm and saw 4 legs up in the air. You don’t need to be an expert to know that’s not good. A sheep had rolled into the ditch. Fine, I’ll go get her out.

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    When I approached, I thought I saw a rabbit run away, turns out it was a lamb! I knew there were two, as she had been scanned for twins. I quickly put the sheep on her feet and waited for the second lamb to come. And carried on waiting….

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    She hadn’t really made any effort to give birth to the second one, so after about half an hour, I put her in the trailer and took her out to the barn. I checked to see if I could feel anything, and all i could feel was an ear and the top of the head. Not good.

    I had a few goes but no joy at all. My neighbour Roddy came around 10.30, and got to work. He’s very experienced and figured out that the lamb’s head had twisted 180 degrees. He worked for about half an hour, before we decided to call the vet. Did that and we carried on. 5 minutes later, the lamb was out, so I cancelled the vet before he’d left his house! Now, you’d think a long, stressful birth would guarantee the lamb was a goner, but no, it was ALIVE! I couldn’t believe it!

    Not a happy ending though :( it became apparent very quickly that something was wrong. It wasn’t breathing. We tried the usual tricks, I even attempted a kind of kiss of life, but no. It died. Gutted.

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    I think I’d have rathered it be born dead, instead of putting me on that roller coaster. Was horrible seeing the lamb alive but just not able to breathe. It’s lungs just weren’t up to it.

    The other lamb is ok, and I just hope the mother is too. It was quite an ordeal for her. I gave her penicillin, along with some food & water. Hopefully that’ll do the trick.

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    Sleep now, alarm set for 5.15 :/

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