Feeding is the first job to be attended to, bearing in mind as many as 50 ewes could have lambed in the previous 24 hours. Silage is offered ad lib, and then ewe numbers in each pen are counted, and concentrate allocations per pen are recalculated.
Space is frequently an issue, so the next task is to free up individual lambing pens. We have up to 80 lambing pens available to us, but these fill up quickly.
This is further complicated by the fact that all lambs receive an EID tag at approximately 12-18 hours of age.
Before any ewe is removed from an individual pen, her data and her lambs data are entered onto a hand held EID reader to be subsequently uploaded onto the TGM software.
This is a time consuming process, taking three to four hours on a busy morning, but from a research and flock management perspective is essential for our farm.
Data such as lambing time and date, lambing difficulty, lamb birth weight, gender and vigour are all recorded, plus if lambs are fostered to or from a ewe.
The value of spending this time on data collection, at the busiest time of the year is we can track lamb performance, and link it back to their dam, allowing us to identify our best, and perhaps more importantly poorest performing ewes in the flock.
Prior to removing lambs from the individual pens, they have their tails docked using a rubber ring and the males are castrated.
Lambs also receive a flank number corresponding to that of their ewe. Weather depending lambs will either be turned out to grass, or may be moved to a group pen for a day or two.
As we do not offer concentrates to ewes and lambs after lambing, all ewes receive a magnesium bolus to reduce the risk of grass tetany. This is a time consuming exercise and care is needed not to damage the mouth and oesophagus when administering the bolus.
Once ewes and lambs are removed from the individual pens, the pens are limed and rebedded. We do not clean the straw from the pens between ewes.
As all this is taking place, ewes are continuing to lamb. And as we are a teaching farm too, our undergrad students are being trained in how to lamb ewes, look after new born lambs, stomach tube lambs, cross foster and many other techniques.
They are also shown the more subtle aspects of animal husbandry, such as the early signs of lambing, a ewe that is unwell, a hungry lamb or a sick lamb.
I think as farmers we can often take these things for granted, but they are considerable skills.
Growing up on a farm, you begin to learn them shortly after potty training is mastered, but for people coming from non-farming backgrounds it can take some time to become familiar with the various animal signals.
Twelve hours do not take long to pass dealing with the above and before long it's late in the evening, the next task is to ensure the night crew have enough pens to see them through until 8am.
Lambing with us, like everywhere, has its ups and downs, some years it goes well and other years you wonder why you do it. The secret to our success (if you can call it that) is there is a good team of good people who want to see a good outcome.
We do have a lot of help, but there are a lot of activities with our flock, that are not replicated elsewhere, not least 90 ewes being completely milked out by hand on three occasions and their lambs being subsequently stomach tubed!!
It's essential that everybody gets a break during lambing and this helps to make it a bit more tolerable.
The next month at Lyons will be focussed on successfully completing the lambing and the late pregnancy experiments and setting up our triplet rearing study and the flock in their grazing rotation for the remainder of the year.
Professor Tommy Boland is an associate professor in sheep production at Lyons Farm, University College Dublin. Twitter: @Pallastb Email: firstname.lastname@example.org