Lambing courses are a great way to get practical, hands-on experience before you’re in the actual moment! Our lambing courses are suitable for first timers, or as a refresher for more experienced hands.
We recently hosted staff members from Charnwood Forest Alpacas for the first lambing course of the year.
The course begins with a presentation, covering the usual causes for intervention to be needed with a lambing. This includes all the different ways in which a lamb may be positioned in the uterus, that isn’t the ‘usual’ presentation for a regular birth. Having pictures of these unusual lamb presentations is a great way to be able to visualise what you may feel when actually examining a ewe, unfortunately you don’t get a sneak peek to see where the lamb is in real life!
Next up, Dave who was hosting the course, gave a demonstration on how to effectively, and safely, use lambing ropes. Showing the difference between a two rope and a three rope technique, and also the advantages of having different coloured ropes. It was a slightly ‘ropey’ demonstration on a participant’s arm, however it did the trick and the team were ready to put what they’d learnt into practice.
To experience the challenges and variety of the practical side of lambing, without a real-life ewe, we use lambing boxes. These are large, rectangular boxes, with a round hole cut into one of the short sides. This hole has a ewes pelvis attached to it, from a deceased sheep donated by the owner to veterinary training. The box is filled with water and a large bag is placed inside with a deceased lamb (again donated by an owner for veterinary training) or with a stuffed toy lamb inside the bag. The bag is then secured around the hole in the box, going through the pelvis, so when you reach your hand into the box you have the most realistic simulation of a real lambing.
We’d like to thank the University of Nottingham for loaning the lambing boxes to us for the day.
All the lambs that were donated for use this day, died of natural causes, and we are very grateful to the owners for allowing us to use them in training. It may seem a bit extreme to practice with deceased animals, but it allows for the most realistic experience and hopefully allows us to train others, so that lambs presenting in difficult positions have the best chance of survival.
The course participants were each presented with a lambing box and had to identify what position their lamb was in, and how they were going to correct the position and then deliver the lamb or lambs. All of the team did very well in identifying how their lambs were presenting and how they needed to apply their ropes effectively. The lambing boxes can be reset as many times as needed so everyone could practice more than once!
We’d like to congratulate all the staff from Charnwood Forest Alpacas that attended the first lambing course of the year on passing the course and thank you for attending! We have four more lambing courses in February which are already full, however if you are interested in joining a course, please contact the team and we can put you on a reserve list if we have any cancellations. If demand is high enough, we can look to hold an additional course(s).