Advantages of the system
DRIFT lambing involves moving bonded ewes and lambs from lambing paddocks to individual pens for castration/tailing, then on to grazing fields the next day. By drifting unlambed ewes out of the way it is possible to reduce interference between lambed ewes.
The system combines the advantages of allowing ewes to lamb naturally with individual attention for all lambs.
Ewes which lamb in Field A during the day stay there for the night while the rest of flock drifts through to Field B, the gate shut behind them.
In the morning ewes and lambs in Field A are picked up and taken to lambing pens before the gate is opened and the flock moves back into Field A. Ewes which lambed overnight in Field B are then picked up with their lambs and put in pens.
Pens are situated by the gate between Fields A and B so that any ewe which needs to be handled can be cornered by the pens as she runs towards the gate.
Each pen has a plastic lid nailed to the front with the numbers one to five on it. These numbers relate to different management chores so that everybody is clear what has been done to ewe and lambs:
1: navel iodined
2: ewes udder checked
3: lambs suckling well
4: lambs castrated and tailed
5: ready to go out *
Pens are rotated each year around the gate which links the two fields where unlambed ewes drift between night and day. Numbered discs nailed to the pens ensure everyone knows whether ewe and lamb have been tended prior to turnout.This system is simple, yet successful.