On farms across the English-speaking world, the term used to describe the birthing and raising of sheep is lambing. The best chance for lambs to survive and thrive is when the weather is mild and grass is plentiful, and for that reason, in the northern hemisphere, Mother Nature decreed that autumn would be the season for sheep to mate, so that their lambs could be born in the springtime.
Yet, according to Emily Ruckert, an Oregon State University graduate with a degree in animal science, with modern farming technology this is not a hard and fast rule. “In nature, lambs are born in the spring, but we do it in the winter,” Emily said when asked about the best time of year for lambs to be born. “By summer all the babies are gone and we can breed again in July.”
While Nature does most of the heavy lifting, on the farm a successful lambing season still depends on the knowledge and experience of the sheep farmer. In previous blogs we have discussed:
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It follows, then, that a moving picture must be worth at least a million. Below are ten of our favorite, most informative YouTube videos on lambing, by sheep farmers whose knowledge of the subject ranges from the beginner to the expert.
1. Lambing Season Documentary
In this documentary find out what happens around lambing time and what jobs have to be completed for a successful season.
2. Lambing Season: How to Be Prepared for Your Busiest Season
Lambing Season is a regular occurrence on the farming calendar and one of the busiest times of the year for many sheep farmers. Often signaling the end of winter and the start of spring, lambing season is a very exciting time of year, to say the least. But with it comes the advent of complications, which are different for every breed.
More than 16 million ewes give birth in the UK alone, delivering an average of four lambs each. In other words, more than 60 million lambs are born during the three months that lambing season traditionally lasts.
One of the sad downsides to this sudden increase in births is the increase in the mortality rate of newborn lambs.
Thus, to be a success the farmer needs to be able to manage all births in a biosecure and efficient manner. Disease, birth defects, frailty, and even extremes of weather can all affect the mortality rate. What the farmer does during this time could make the difference between a successful season and a failed one.
This video shows you how you can stack the odds in your favor.
3. Lambing on a Small Scale: Hints and Tips for Successful Lambing
This video explains in detail the sheep farmer’s method of lambing. He talks about feed, supplements, pen size, and everything else involved in raising sheep. It is essentially a farm tour of a modest-sized lambing operation and contains great information for beginners and people just starting out.
4. Lamb Survival Guide: Preparing for Lambing Time
This video presents practical advice on the preparation and equipment required ahead of lambing time in order to maximize lamb survival rates.
5. Five Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Sheep Farm
This video spotlights the five essential things the sheep farmer has done over the last seven years to improve her sheep farm. Best of all, these are things that did not cost her a lot of money!
Sometimes rural folk take for granted the little things that help them become better business people and better farmers because they get caught up with what others have invested in. Sure, you may need to heavily invest in capital equipment that costs a lot. Yet, by the same token, some of your most valuable improvements may involve using the things you already have and making maximum use of the people, systems, and teams already at your disposal!
It’s all about “waste not, want not.”
6. The Labor of Lambing Season
Sheep farmer and writer Brian Nicholson talks about lambing season on his farm, and the labor that it entails.
7. Lambing Season Has Begun!
The first lambs of this year’s lambing season at Heartway Farms have finally arrived! Take a turn through the back pasture with their flock of Katahdin Hair Sheep to have a look.
8. Spring Lambing Season on the Farm
Sheep farm owner Susan Wilson in Canby, Oregon, leads a tour to see the lambs she considers her “business partners.” Her breeds of lambs are Leicester and Coopworth that came from New Zealand.
9. The Pros and Cons of Lambing in a Barn Versus on Pasture
How you and your flock handle lambing season sets the stage for the rest of your sheep year. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing where to lamb your flock.
10. On the Farm: Lambing 2020
Lambing season on the farm is a busy time, what with taking care of all the sheep and their new lambs. Follow along on the tour of the process. Watch how the lambs are taken inside for a time and then transferred to an outdoor pen as they are a bit older. As you can see, the sheepherders take great care of the animals, and the lambs grow very fast.
If you have already taken the leap into sheep-farming, visit our website for a nice selection of quality lambing supplies.