Sheep are also classed as production animals and here at Easter Bush farm in the outskirts of Edinburgh, we have a flock of mule ewes, whose purpose is to produce prime butcher's lambs. The mule ewe is a crossbred ewe, whose characteristics include hardiness, good mothering ability. Hopefully, she has two lambs per year and a good supply of milk with which to feed them. We cross these mule ewes with a terminal sire breed of sheep, such as the Texel or Suffolk, which are large meaty breeds to produce a high quality butcher's lamb. In the UK, lambing traditionally happens in the spring so that the ewes can benefit from the spring grass during lactation. The average gestation length of sheep being 147 days, in order to lamb in the spring, we have to put the rams or tops as we call them in Scotland, out with the ewes back in early November. Now, a mature ram will usually be put out with 30 to 50 ewes, or sometimes farmers will run three rams out with 100 ewes. We put a color on the ram's brisket or chest, so that when he mates a ewe, it leaves a color on her tail head, and the farmer then knows that these ewes have been mated. At 45 to 90 days gestation, it should be useful to ultra sound scan the ewes, to detect pregnancy and also to find out how many lambs each ewe's expecting. The main benefit from this is, that we can allocate the feed more efficiently. because obviously, a ewe carrying a single lamb will have much lower nutritional requirement than a ewe carrying triplet lambs. And therefore, we can allocate the feed more effectively and make sure every ewe's nutritional needs are met. We also feed them ad lib forage, and that's conserved grass, either as hay, haylage, or silage. Lambing can be indoors or outdoors, and here at the Easter Bush farm, we bring the ewes into the shed in January. The benefits of this include rest in the grazing pasture and preventing it getting damaged over the winter. It gives us more control of the ewes' nutrition and allows us closer supervision of the ewes at lambing time. At lambing time, the ewes lamb out in these large pens. And then once they've lambed, we bring the ewe and her lambs into smaller individual pens to give them time to recover and bond before we finally move them outside. While they are in these individual pens, we also have the opportunity to observe and help them as needed. The first task is to treat the umbilical cord, which is a potential infection route. And we do this by dipping or spraying the naval with veterinary iodine to help prevent infection entering the lambs system. We also ensure that the lambs have had that first vital feed of colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk that the ewe produces after lambing and it's packed with nutrients and antibodies and it's really important that the lambs gets a feed of that as soon as possible, exactly the same story as we had with the calves. Now usually, the lambs will manage to feign their teeth and suckle this themselves, but if they need a bit of help, we'll do that or if the lamb is unusually weak, we might have to provide the colostrum with a stomach tube. The ewes and lambs normally spend around 24 hours in the individual pens before being turned out to grass. However, we'll only do this once we are sure that the ewe and lambs are both in good health and ready to be put outside. Our aim is for every ewe to leave the shed with two healthy lambs, to give us a 200% lambing percentage, a target that is rarely met. The ewes and lambs stay together out in the field until they are weaned, around four months of age, with the ewes then put on to poorer pasture to dry up their milk supply. And the lambs are put onto the best grass we can find, so that they will continue to grow well. We then start to select the lambs that have reached the required weight and confirmation that the market buyers are looking for. We select lambs that weigh about 40 kilograms under the right body confirmation, which is a skill that is very important. Because if we select lambs that don't meet the market requirements, we'll be paid less money for these lambs. The role of the farm vet obviously includes treatment of individual sick animals, but increasingly they're involved in producing flock inherent health plans in order to help the farmer keep his animals healthy and productive. Therefore, although the role of the farm vet is very different from that of the small animal vet, the contribution to the health of these animals is every bit as important.