What's in the box?

14 March, 2016 - 14:24 | Lara Pollard-Jones

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For those of us that tupped in October lambing is not only on the horizon, but also approaching at a rate of knots.  Now is the time to make sure that your lambing shed (if you are lucky enough to have one) is set up for your expectant mothers and their new arrivals.  Along with cleaning everything, erecting pens, and worrying about having enough straw/hay/feed it is also important to think about what you have in your lambing box.  This may be the last thought on your mind, especially with the current weather, but having the right equipment on hand can be the difference between life and death for a ewe and lamb.

There are number of essential items which should be in every lambing box.  This week, Sue and I played our own ‘Desert Island Discs’ and each chose what we feel to be the most important eight things that we would have in our lambing boxes.

Sue: 

-          Kick start

-          Ceto Phyton (A rumen booster)

-          Antibiotic injection

-          Lubricant

-          Tagging equipment

-          Banding equipment

-          Colostrum replacer and bottles/teats

-          Carrier bags

Lara:

-          Antibiotics

-          Lubricant

-          Kick start

-          Head torch

-          Colostrum replacer and bottles/teats

-          Purple spray

-          Iodine

-          Lucozade

Naturally, I had assumed that Sue’s carrier bags would be for removing any placenta or lambs that didn’t quite make it from the field.  Though these are perfectly suitable uses, there is one very important one that I had missed: moving a ewe that had lambed outside.  We’ve all had to do it, and I’ve spent many a dark night/early morning, walking backwards, pulling a pair of twins along making lamb noises while being followed by a slightly perplexed ewe.  Sue’s solution is to put the lambs in the bags with their heads poking out so she can see and smell them, and then move them and the ewe in a much more dignified manner. 

In my box, I like to have a bottle of Lucozade to give a ewe a boost if she needs it.  It is a cheaper option which can be poured into a bucket and left with a ewe who is feeling a little flat and needs a bit of a boost on top of the usual kick start.  Alternatively, it can be used to boost a weary shepherd who forgot to bring along a warm drink…  One thing to take into consideration; the sheep prefer the Lucozade to be flat.

A list of what could/should be in your lambing box by the Accidental Smallholder, can be found here.  Remember; everyone has different priorities and you know your flock better than anyone else, so if you think it is useful to have the works of Mozart on loop to soothe your ewes, make sure it is on the list!

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