Over the course of a few months around 1800 lambs will take their first wobbly steps here on the green fields of Kersheugh farm. With different breeds and age groups of sheep lambing in specific groups, lambing time here stretches from the last week of March up until the end of May. This way of planning our spring not only stretches out the workload at one of our busiest times of year, but also means that there are new born lambs for visitors to see for even longer than normal - win-win!
So what’s different on the farm at lambing time?
Things are just a little more hectic than usual (if that’s possible!)
Throughout the months of spring we are concentrating on the successful arrival and mothering of newborn lambs and calves. This means more frequent observation of what is happening out in the fields to make sure the stock are okay and a lot of record taking in the calving fields - we record the mothers ear tag number, when she had her calf, her temperament, her location and then give the calf its very own set of earrings too.
What’s different about OUR farm at lambing time?
Here at Kersheugh farm, we aim for our animals to need as little human intervention as possible. This means creating an environment for our animals where they have the very best chance to succeed without our intervention. The less we need to catch, handle and interfere with the mother and offspring the better, every step of the way. To be able to birth naturally outdoors and nurture with success are the most wonderful things to observe. Sheep and cows may have been domesticated by humans but by keeping specific breeds on our farm and managing them well, their natural instincts are incredible to watch. It is truly an honour to observe and admire the birth and first feed of a newborn animal here at the farm. No matter the long days, how poor the weather and how tired our eyes, we can always spare a minute to sit still and watch that magic happen.
The hardest part of lambing time?
Where there is new life there is also loss and this never gets any easier for us as farmers. We will alway question the ‘what ifs’ and be disappointed to see a mother without a lamb or lamb without its mother. This is part of life and unavoidable, always a reminder of why we take such care of the livestock on the farm
How do we juggle family and farming at the busiest time?
We can’t just stop work because school is done for the day so spring time at the farm means a lot of chatter filled trips in the Land Rover. Most days the kids come home, haul on a set of ‘farm clothes’ and pile into the Land Rover (which I have fully equipped - there is no better way to keep kids happy than.. SNACKS!) Sometimes they draw, film their outings on iPads or just sit and chit chat in the back. We have a rota for who’s turn it is to roll the ‘coupies’ (sheep stuck on their backs needing help to turn over!)
If you’re interested in finding out more about lambing and seeing some of the action from around Scotland as well as Kersheugh Farm, Go Rural are running their live lambing event series, Lambathon, for the second year this year!
Lambathon allows people to tune into lambing sheds and fields at different farms throughout the spring and Jacksons at Jedburgh will be hosting Lambathon at Kersheugh Farm from 1pm on both the 31st of March and the 28th of April this year. Go Rural Lambathon events start on Sunday the 28th of March with Kitchen Coos & Ewes (in Dumfries and Galloway) and the full list of Lambathon events can be found on their Facebook page here.