Pet owners visiting our surgeries are often surprised to see Landrovers and pickups backed up to the surgery door and are even more surprised when a sheep, complete with new-born lambs passes them while sitting in the waiting room, but I love the buzz that surrounds lambing time and having woolly customers at the surgery certainly adds an interesting dimension to our usual caseload.
Most sheep lamb by themselves. Some require assistance and, since many sheep farmers have several hundred sheep, most become very adept at assisting their ewes when required. Inevitably, the lambings that we tend to see are often the most problematic. As a result, a fairly high percentage of our lambings turn into Caesarean Section operations.
When we perform a Caesarean operation on a Sheep, we perform it under Local Anaesthesia (numb the affected area). An area of fleece has to be clipped on the left side of the abdomen and a skin and muscle incision is made about 18-20cm long. The lamb is removed from the uterus (the womb) then the wall of the uterus is repaired before suturing the muscle and skin layers.
With pain relief for a couple of days after the surgery sheep often cope extremely well after a Caesarean in fact it can be much less traumatic than a difficult lambing.
After a long day at the surgery I like to unwind by…………. lambing my own sheep at home!
I have lambed 22 Pedigree Southdown Ewes this year – fortunately no Caesarean Sections. Southdown Sheep are a rare breed and we have gradually expanded our flock over the last 9 years. This year, 11 of our ewes have given birth to purebred Southdown lambs and 11 have Southdown x Texel lambs.
With the recent settled weather, we have been able to let the Ewes and lambs out during the day but have continued to bring them back into the shed over-night.
For me, nothing heralds the end of Winter and the start of Spring like the sight of my ewes and new-born lambs grazing on a bright Spring day.