We are gearing up for lambing. We are keeping a watchful eye on the mamas (current goal is NO babies because it is too soon), getting other jobs done so they are out of the way, readying the barn and pens, making some equipment upgrades, etc. in addition to all the jobs that happen as we come out of winter into a new season.
One of the pre-lambing jobs is making sure we have supplies organized and on hand. New shepherds often ask "What do I need?" and I tell ya, we are like the Boy Scouts of America here: prepared. When the vet lives over an hour away, when the emergencies happen at the worst time, when the distance between the house and barn gets longer every trip, it is worth having a few things set up right and available.
I have a 4-tiered rolling cart that stays in the barn, and I have a grab-and-go kit that is stocked for the pasture. Combined, here is what we have ready to go:
In my Field Kit:
Vicks (if you ever have to pull a dead lamb, it helps mask the nasty smells)
bottle of water (for rinsing)
nice fat shoelaces (for tough pulls)
On the cart:
Binder for lamb records and the lambing calendar
Towels & clean rags
Sharpie & highlighter
All the pens and pencils that work in the house and cease to work as soon as they get to the barn.
Alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Hibitane, udder ointment, Betadine, navel dip
Needle case and Syringes - lots of 3cc, a couple 1cc, 2 ea of 6cc and 12cc, 1 35cc, 60cc drencher, 60cc for injections, container for sharps
Castration - donuts, applicator, donut dip
Tagging - tag marker, lamb tags, tagger, spray paint, spare ewe tags
Leg pack - splints, casting fluff, fleece liners, gauze, vet wrap, duct tape
Wound pack - non-adhesive sterile pads, band aids, 4x4s, antibiotic ointment
Prolapse pack - spoon, harness, icing sugar
Milk - pail, small strainer, funnel, yogurt containers w lids, bottle, nipples, 60cc with lamb stomach tube
Misc stuff - cable ties, eyes for panels, spray paint, milk tubes, scalpel, hoof trimmers
Pharmaceuticals: Metacam, Dexamethazone 5, Penicillin, Long-acting Penicillin, Spectramax, Oxytocin, Dextrose, Cal-Mag, Selon-E, Thiamine, Hemostam, Ketamalt, Glycol, Electrolytes [That sounds like a lot, but here's the breakdown: 2 are steroids/painkillers, 3 are antibiotics with different uses, one is a hormone to help with situations like retained placentas; the rest are vitamins, minerals, and energy sources.]
In my pockets:
Lambing calendar/ewe list
In the freezer:
Whew, so that's more or less it. Every year this list gets edited. We find new ways and tweak our management. The sheep invent new problems (they are sheep, after all), and so we have to learn new ways to keep them healthy. Another farm and another flock might have a different list and set-up, and I always appreciate hearing what other shepherds have! If you have sheep, what's in your kit?