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Lambing at Dorrington Hall Farm

Fureya Nelson-Riggott writes about her first day of work experience at Dorrington Hall Farm

I’ve wanted to be a vet since I was quite small – mainly as a result of reading Enid Blyton’s ‘Cherry Tree Farm’ and all the James Herriot books. James is always having to go out in the middle of the night, in the snow and howling winds to deliver lambs, but despite the discomfort it always sounds like a really rewarding experience.

I had been to a fantastic CPRE family farm walk at Dorrington Hall Farm, and when I was there I had a chat with farmer Jane Ellsmoor about working with animals. She asked if I would like to come back to help with the lambing when I was 14. Of course, I said yes – and so I arrived at the farm in my wellies and a pair of waterproof trousers at 8.30am on a sunny Sunday in March. It was in at the deep end as soon as I arrived when Jane showed me how to hold a ewe so that Steve could reposition a lamb that was coming out head first – then a few minutes later I was helping the ewe to give birth to her second twin. It was very messy, but wonderful!

It wasn’t long before Niamh (another girl my age who hopes to be a vet) arrived, and there were plenty of jobs for us to help out with; filling water buckets, spreading straw, docking tails and castrating, and feeding the ewes, who need plenty of food and water, especially the ones who have given birth to twins or triplets. We took some older lambs and their mothers down to the field in the trailer which unfortunately got stuck in the mud!

Niamh and I did a couple of checks on the ewes in the field, walking around and looking for ewes showing signs of lambing. We spotted one ewe with a prolapse and found Patch (a Texel who’d come to the farm as a cade lamb – an orphan who needed to be hand-reared) in the field with her single dead lamb. Steve helped us to take her in to the barn and later on when another of the ewes had triplets, gave Patch one of the new born lambs who she bonded with.

Bottle feeding lambs
Bottle-feeding orphaned lambs | Becca Nelson

I had a brilliant day and it gave me a real insight into some of the highs and lows of farming – I can’t wait to go back again. Thank you to Jane and Steven!

From Cheshire Viewpoint, Spring 2014
Lambing time - Becca Nelson