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Temporary Shelters for Lambing Time

Lynley Coffey, Manawatu

The farm where I run my black and coloured sheep is on a high plateau on the Manawatu plains, and is exposed to cold wild weather, especially at lambing time. We have started planting shelter belts of native trees for protection from bad weather. but in the meantime, to provide protection during lambing, we have started to use plastic white tanks which we source from IBC (Intermediate Bulk Containers).

The containers are plastic 1000 litre tanks that come in a steel cage on a steel pallet. A firewood merchant uses the cages for storing wood, and the plastic tanks are excess to requirements. Using a jigsaw, we cut a rounded doorway out of the side of the tank that has the tap. We then drill a hole in the centre of the floor, which we use to secure the tank to the ground using a long steel peg, made by welding a couple of washers onto the end of a 600mm length steel rod, with a large plastic washer for added strength, made from thick offcut plastic.

The ewes often lamb against the sheltered side of the containers. It is always nice and warm in the shelters and it doesn’t take long for the lambs to find their way inside. We find that when the wind changes direction, the container shelters rotate on the centre peg, and the doorway always ends up facing away from the bad weather. I often ride past in bad weather and see five or six lambs tucked up, in each shelter keeping warm and dry.

I tow three at a time behind the quad bike, and dot them around my lambing paddocks, then store most of them away once the lambs are weaned. I leave one in each paddock near a water trough, as I find they are good for keeping the salt blocks out of the weather.

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