Kasper, fences and a trial run at lambing... : Latest blogs from @SoilAssociation

Kasper, fences and a trial run at lambing...

Emma Heseltine - 11 March 2012

We have a new calf at the Croft. It’s a fine day to be born and little Kasper is a cute looking little thing. Mum Croft is very protective so we have to be careful moving them to the little paddock which is nearer the house so we can keep an eye on them both. We are on a roll, three calves and two are bull calves. 

There is a lot of fence to be put up at Willowford. We are fencing off a large section to plant trees and now the posts are knocked in its time for stock netting and a string of wire for the top. It’s a good job and we can see the progress being made as we work our way along. The sheep however are not impressed with our efforts. They are getting mightily confused by not being able to take their favourite short cuts through the steep part of the field. At one point we see a group trot past on the inside of the new fenced area towards where one of the feeders is, a while later they come baaing back. We’ve finished that section and they cant get through that way anymore! We just have to make sure nobody gets fenced in when we finally finish this section.

Lambing is almost upon us and I have been booked on a lambing course for the morning. Theory is fine and I have read plenty, but a bit of practical is a good thing. The vets at Brampton have set up four work stations for us to practice on and have a variety of mildly grisly subjects for us to work on; learn by doing. The first station I come to is intraperitoneal glucose injection for starved/hypothermic lambs. It’s a 60ml injection of warm glucose with a ridiculous sized syringe just below the belly button. It’s fairly simple and at least I can’t kill this lamb, its way past that. We also have a go at inserting a feeding tube, easy on something dead; I’m sure harder on something living. Next it's trying to put a rope around the head of a lamb without looking, this is in case of a mal-presentation where you have to go in and find a leg or two and don’t want to lose the head. It’s not too hard once you get the technique, and remember to get both ears looped under the rope. There is a quiz on the theory next, to see if we have been paying attention and lastly correcting a mal-presentation. The lamb is put in a bag by the vet in a funny position, and then placed in a box which has a pelvis at one end, the head of the bag is through it and the idea is to feel around and see what you have got, correct it and deliver the lamb. Easier said than done, I find one leg and a head, it’s a front leg not a back one but I have to find another. I eventually get both legs in the right direction but now have lost the head and somehow managed to turn the lamb upside down, possibly not something that’s actually possible in real life. I do manage eventually but I suspect I have to get better at this very quickly. Lambing starts next week…

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