Ewe 2 Feeder winner saves on rearing time
An extra Volac EWE 2 warm milk feeder has helped self-employed shepherdess Amy Collins save even more time during the busy lambing period at Pythouse Farm, West Hatch near Salisbury in Wiltshire.
Amy was delighted to win the free thermostatically controlled bucket feeder, which was on offer to one lucky entrant from the 700 plus people who participated in the Lamlac lamb rearing survey last October.
“I never win anything, so was delighted to hear such exciting news just before Christmas last year!” she says.
Amy received the prize bucket in good time for the 2017 lambing season and its timely acquisition doubled the surplus lamb rearing capacity at Pythouse Farm, which turned out to be just what the unit needed.
Pythouse Farm is a 950 acre arable and grassland farm, run on behalf of Pythouse Estate owner Sir Henry Rumbold. “We run 630 North of England Mules on the farm’s 350 acres of grassland and lamb the ewes indoors in early March every year. We try to finish most of the lambs off of grass and stubble turnips, but typically 60-70 tend to be kept on to sell as hoggets in May or June the following year,” Amy says.
“We normally rear about 15 lambs artificially, but this year ended up with more than double that number because we had a lot of early triplets. This meant we didn’t have the cross-fostering opportunity available so had to use the buckets to rear all the extra lambs. We also had a few twin-bearing ewes with poor milk, so having the extra bucket this year actually worked out really well for us.”
Saving time feeding surplus lambs
Amy really values the time saved by bucket feeding. “Five years ago we were using bottles and hand rearing them, but to be honest it was far too labour intensive – and not just in feeding time, but also in terms of the hassle involved in cleaning bottles. I’m so glad we moved onto the bucket feeders; they are really easy to set up and clean – we always sterilise the pipes once a day – and the lambs take to the teats really quickly. It’s such a boon not to be spending as much time anymore having to look after these valuable extra lambs. Frankly, in the middle of a busy lambing period you simply don’t have that luxury.
“Bucket feeding certainly works for our surplus lamb management challenge and the lambs grow really quickly and cost effectively,” she says.
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