This time of the year is a busy one for all of our farm vets at Robson and Prescott as lambing time is upon us.
The preparation begins in autumn when we help farmers ensure that the tup is in good condition before he is put in with the ewes in November. Once the ewes are pregnant, it is very important to ensure that they are free of diseases that can cause ill-health or abortion, such as enzootic abortion, campylobacter and toxoplasma. Vaccination is an important preventative measure in this regard.
The ewes are segregated depending on how many lambs they are expecting, ensuring their nutrition is optimised in the run up to lambing. Our vets are often involved in taking blood samples from a proportion of the flock to check that they are getting the nutrients they require.
The lambing season typically runs from February to April so farmers are now getting everything ready for their new arrivals.
If the ewe is having difficulty in giving birth, our vets are always available to lend a helping hand. Sometimes it just takes a little manipulation of the lamb in order for it to be born naturally.
If this is not possible, a caesarian section may be required. Typically, this used to mean the vet travelling to and from farms. However, the facilities at Robson and Prescott mean that these can now be carried out on the premises. We have a specialised Large Animal Unit, which allows farmers and horse owners to bring their animals to us. So don’t be alarmed if you see a queue of farmers, and their sheep, next time you pull into the car park.
So what does lambing time mean to the general public? Some sheep are still kept out on the hills and a lot of the public footpaths and countryside walks cross over our farmers’ lands. Care should be taken throughout the year, but here are a few tips to remember:
l Some pathways are closed during this part of the year to protect the flocks from disturbance. Check this before venturing out.
l Remember to close all gates behind you as we don’t want the sheep, and their lambs, going walk-a-bout.
l Dogs love nothing more than to run and explore the countryside. However, please keep them on their leads whilst near or crossing farm land.
For more information about lambing time at Robson and Prescott, and the veterinary care we provide, contact us and have a chat with one of our farm vets.
By SARA TOWNEND, Vet