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Lambing time, the herald of spring; WITH MARTIN PATERSON OF DONALDSON'S VETS.

PRING is in the air and nothing heralds the end of winter at Donaldson's Vets like the spring lambing season.

Sheep farmers, some of whom we have not seen since last March, become daily visitors to the surgery during this busy time of the year. It I not unusual to have a couple of sheep trailers outside a Donaldson's clinic.

At our Shepley surgery, we have a room dedicated to treating sheep and performing Caesarian Section operations and so many of our farmers divert to Shepley. At the other surgeries, sheep are either treated in the back of the trailer or in one of the small animal consulting rooms. When our new Veterinary Hospital opens on Somerset Road, Almondbury later this year, we will have a large area dedicated to the treatment of our small farm ruminant patients.

For me, this time of year is especially busy as I am not only looking after patients while I am at work but am also busy with my own flock of sheep.

Very much a hobby, this year, I have 22 ewes that are in lamb and they started lambing about three weeks ago. For the last couple of years, I have scanned my ewes to confirm if they are carrying singles, twins or triplets and this allows me to feed them differently. This year, we have had 13 twins, four triplets and five singles.

Lambing time is hard work. Having just 22 ewes, I have an enormous respect for those farmers who have hundreds! The last few weeks have involved late nights, middle of the night checks, and early mornings but I find it so rewarding to see ewes and lambs thriving.

Immediately following lambing, the ewe and lambs are penned up closely so that mother and offspring can bond. I make sure that the lambs navels are disinfected to avoid infection and ensure that the lamb suckles the ewe. After a couple of days, when the lambs have become more steady on their feet and are stronger, I mark ewes and lambs up with a marker spray so I can tell which lambs belong to which ewe and I let them out in the shed. When the weather is favourable as it has been this week, I can let ewe and lamb outside for the first time.

At the time of writing, I have only one of my 22 ewes left to lamb and so the excitement of seeing young lambs is tinged with tiredness from several weeks of interrupted sleep. It is a tiring time but I always find it incredibly rewarding to see young lambs outside in the spring sunshine.

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It's spring lambing season for Donaldson's Vets

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 28, 2019
Words:451
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