This month, I tried something a little different and dabbled with some very hands on, spring lambing. I always knew a day on the farm would be mucky, but I didn’t think I’d be getting my hands that dirty and actually delivering lambs!
The experience took place at Kite’s Nest Farm, an organic farm in the most beautiful and hidden valley between Snowshill and Broadway in the Cotswolds hills. For over 35 years the farm has been rearing organic beef and lamb within its 470 acres. They take the welfare of their animals very seriously with their chemical free pastures to safeguard wildlife and allow their animals complete free roaming. They have converted the basement of the farmhouse into a butcher’s shop to sell their organic meat to local customers.
When we were checking on the expecting ewes after lunch, one of them had a large water bag showing from the back of her. We got the very uncomfortable and swollen ewe, who had never given birth before, into a pen and noticed her change in behaviour including a bit of foot stamping! I was surprised at how fast everything appeared to be moving.
Soon enough my hands were washed, disinfected and coated in lambing gel. I had no idea I would actually be helping out! Next thing I knew my fingers were inside the ewe, checking to see what I could feel. One hoof was cupped and then the other and gently I guided the lamb out, downwards and forwards. Surprisingly, lambs come out front legs first, followed by the head.
Once the lamb was delivered, we removed the mucus from its face and quickly placed her in front of her mother who then continued to bond with and nurse the little one. Within minutes the lamb was rolling around, baa’ing and trying with all its strength to stand up.
I was quite emotional following the whole labour and physically quite exhausted, must have been the adrenaline! The farm looked beautiful all day, with new life blossoming everywhere and I felt like I’d really done something worthwhile. Maybe a shepherding career could be on the horizon!