Video: Ewe wouldn’t believe it! Norfolk film maker becomes emergency midwife

Film maker Nik Coleman with one of the three lambs he delivered overnight when he was 'sheep sitting' for a neighbour, using his laptop to Google instructions. Picture: Denise Bradley Film maker Nik Coleman with one of the three lambs he delivered overnight when he was 'sheep sitting' for a neighbour, using his laptop to Google instructions. Picture: Denise Bradley

Saturday, April 12, 2014
6:30 AM

Nik Coleman’s only knowledge of sheep farming had been from listening to Radio 4’s long-running soap opera The Archers.

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But the south Norfolk film maker became an emergency midwife when his neighbour’s ewe unexpectedly went into labour.

The 53-year-old, from Forncett, near Long Stratton, went to check on his next door neighbour’s livestock on Thursday night and returned home five hours later after delivering three lambs - with the help of a laptop and advice from social networkers from across the world.

Mr Coleman, who runs his own production company, was told that his neighbour’s pregnant ewe was not due to give birth for a couple of weeks.

However, when the father-of-four and his TV producer wife Sarah went to check on the sheep, they soon realised they were in for a long night.

“The next door neighbours had gone away and they expected them to lamb a lot later. We went over at midnight to check they were okay and put them in their pen and the next thing we knew she started full on contractions. When I saw the hoof sticking out, I thought someone was having a major laugh to see what I was capable of,” he said.

Sheep farmers occasionally have to intervene during the busy lambing season. But Mr and Mrs Coleman had to give a helping hand with all three of the births.

He Googled lambing on his laptop and had help from friends on Facebook to make the deliveries.

“The first had its foot around its head, I had to pull out the second and the third was coming out the wrong way. The vet came out later and he said that I saved the lives of the three lambs and the sheep,” he said.

The first lamb was born at 2am yesterday, the second arrived just after 3am and the third arrived into the world just before 5am.

Mr Coleman, who is the man behind the fly on the wall documentary Planet Norfolk about Norfolk life, said he could not resist filming the births, which could be the next ‘Ewe-Tube’ hit.

He added that it was lucky that his neighbour only had one pregnant ewe.
“All of my sheep farming skills comes from listening to Radio 4. I received a crash course from a local sheep farmer last week, just in case, but I do not know anything about lambing.”

“After the birth of four children, I was thinking I must be able to get a lamb out of a sheep. It does give me huge admiration of sheep farmers and the massive amount of hard graft during the lambing season.”

“We were Googling it and getting advice from all over the world and there were people giving me advice from America,” he said.

Mr Coleman said they had become quite attached to the new arrivals and his neighbours were in for a surprise when they return home today. He added that he was tempted to feature a sheep farmer in his next series of Planet Norfolk.

Have you got an agriculture story? Email michael.pollitt@archant.co.uk

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