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How I prepare for lambing season | Cleaning the barn


Our routine of lambing season preparations is a million miles from a commercial farm. We don't have hundred's of sheep to care for, so we have the time to get the barn and the sheep ready in more detail.


So, with only a week to go before our first group of mummies-to-be are lambing, it’s all hands on deck to get ready. What’s there to do, you might ask? SO MUCH!!! so here's what I’m doing this week.



Firstly the barn - I always joke that lambing season should be re-named cleaning season. If you bring ewes in for lambing, then you commit to a 3-day cycle of cleaning, and I’m not talking dusting a few cobwebs. This is gym session replacing, sweat-inducing, muscle aching, hard graft!

1.)


I filmed my last cleaning blast in time-lapse (let’s face it, watching me clean is not very interesting), but you may like to be nosey and see what it takes to meet the standards of a Babydoll maternity ward! Why do I need to keep it clean? Besides the obvious reasons for generally keeping the girls healthy while they wait to give birth, but also the bedding they lie on is how clean their belly and teats are, when the big night arrives, and what the little lambs stagger their way in search of the milk bar blindly suck at. If they suck disgusting fleece, that’s a mouth full of bacteria and a recipe for disaster. So, cleaning the barn and prepping the lambing pens is the priority- the 6ft x 5ft maternity bays at the side of the barn is cleaned, limed and then not used until they are ready to lamb, so it is as clean as it can be.

My top tips for a Babydoll owner cleaning routine...The easiest way to do this stress-free for the Babydolls (and me) is to clean half at a time; the girls eat, sleep and chill on the other side of the barn. They've not had to move out or wait for fine weather to go outside. We use what we fondly nickname a "Bertha" - a forklift tipping skip, a huge bin on wheels that you can roll right into the barn, filled with the dirty straw and then the skid steer picks it up and drives it to our eco-friendly compost heap. No more thousands of wheelbarrow visits, and this is quite simply a game changer. Every day, I poop-scoop and add clean straws to areas. This keeps the mess down, and then, like many equestrian owners, I clean every 3 days.

2.)



My deep clean routine...

I start by forking up all the dirty straw into Bertha.

Then, using an industrial floor scraper, scrape the dirty lime layer off these slightly slippy and damp areas of the floor, which is the germ-infested layer.

Next, brush this scraped waste up and place it in Bertha.

Then, scatter a clean layer of lime. Be generous! This keeps the straw dry and adds natural bacterial protection.

Finally, add a layer of clean straw, not too deep and not in clumps.

Hoover out the water troughs (we use the portable Milwaukee wet and dry battery vacuum) and wipe out any residue, then refill.

This takes about 3 hours for our 80m square metres.


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