Following the social distancing and hygiene measures from the government is highly important for those currently amid, or about to start, lambing – the last thing you want is a staff off sick. However, even with the most care, some are still succumbing, so is there anything you can do now to keep lambing operation running as you would like it should the worst happen?
Firstly, see if there are any family members, neighbours, contractors that can be brought in. Ask around. Even if well-connected people are aware that you might need someone, they can keep an ear out for you and be a point of contact if this contingency needs to be implemented.
Try to set things up so your system is clear to others. A field map labelled with notes such as the fields with triplets in or those most prone to fox predation. This can even be accompanied by labels on the gates to reduce room for error. Note down your usual route and times for checking the lambing stock.
Use the FAS Standard Operating Procedures available here https://www.fas.scot/rural-business/coronavirus/sheep/ to note your usual policies such as recording, locations of important supplies and important contact details.
Invest in tools that make handling easier, such as a crook that immobilises the ewe. Make an equipment list to help staff be more organised and efficient. Even a drone might be a worthwhile investment to check the livestock from afar. Ideas that make your life easier are always good, but perhaps now more than ever.
We sincerely hope that you are not severely affected at this critical time. The virus is challenging us to plan ahead more diligently. The sentiment ‘Hope for the best and plan for the worst’ really does apply.
Poppy Frater for the Farm Advisory Service
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