Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Winston meets the girls!

Following our sponging efforts a fortnight ago, today it was time for the students to remove the sponges and prepare our tup, Winston, for his run with the ladies. Holly and Jake will show you what we got up to!

We think that you'll agree that they both did a good job removing the sponges and getting Winston raddled up ready to mate with the ewes.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

It's that time of year again! How to sponge a ewe.

This years lambs are growing on well and now that students are back from their summer holidays, the Yr 12 Animal Management students have been busy planning ahead for next years lambs. Lambing is a very tiring time of year for a farmer, the sheep need checking on a regular basis, including through the night. This responsibility has always fallen to Mr Fearon, so this year we've researched ways in which we could make his life a little easier!

Sponging involves inserting a sponge that contains hormones into the vagina of the sheep. The hormones in the sponge stimulate the reproductive system to become active, but crucially, for the egg to be released 48-55 hours  after the sponge is removed. The tup (we're using Winston this year) is then added to the mix and then theoretically, all of the ewes should lamb within a window of a couple of days in the spring.

This is the first time that we have tried this on Bebington High School Farm and in this video, Jess Fleet demonstrates how the sponge is applied:

We've got our fingers crossed that this technique works for us - we've read mixed reviews, but you never really know until you try it yourself!