Sam Wordley © 2008
is our most important and busiest time of year and takes place
between March and April every year. Two weeks prior to lambing,
pregnant ewes are brought into a paddock beside the lambing
pens so we can check them regularly.
The ewes give birth in the paddock
before being moved into individual lambing pens.
These straw filled pens provide a warm, safe place for ewe
and lamb out of the elements and away from foxes. It also
provides us with an opportunity to make sure mum and offspring
are doing well.
The lambs are inspected and their
umbilical cords sprayed with an organically approved healing
solution that helps the cord dry quickly and reduces the chance
of bacterial infection. Each ewe's udder is checked to make
sure she is producing milk and it can be easily sucked by
the lamb from the teat.
The first 24 hours of the lamb's life are the most important.
During this time, and for this time only, its mother's milk
is very rich in life-giving antibodies and nutrients. This
milk is called colostrum and appears thicker and slightly
yellowy than normal milk. If a lamb does not get colostrum
during its first 24 hours of life, its chances of survival
are very low.
The time they remain in the lambing pens depends on the size
of the lamb and the mothering skills of the ewe. Single lambs
and twins are commonly put out on fresh pasture after 24 hours,
but not before the lambs are fit and able to feed themselves
easily. Ewes with triplets or small lambs are kept in for
All Manx Loaghtan lambs are born jet black. After a couple
of weeks, they lose this distinctive colour and their wool