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how do you know if a sheep is in labour?

Bernice Parker, 18 March 2015

Hello Lambcam-ers - here is the answer to the most frequently asked question of this year's lambing season.

'How can you tell when a sheep is in labour?'

Here are some of the signs that you can look out for:

  • Hiding away quietly in the corner – this behaviour would be to avoid predators in the wild.
  • Licking the lips – a preparation for cleaning the lamb after it is born.
  • Restless standing up and lying down.
  • Pawing at the ground – scratching up a soft ‘nest’ for the lamb to be born into.
  • Visible straining at regular intervals.
  • Visible mucus, water bag or a pair of feet protruding from the ewe’s back end!

And now here's a gratuitously cute picture of St Fagans first ever set of quads. Born last night...

The St Fagans shepherd, with the first set of quads ever to be born at the museum

Watch a view live from the lambing shed to see the action unfold

As part of the redevelopment project at St.Fagans National History Museum, we wish to open our doors to volunteers and invite them to work alongside the Preventive Conservation team, helping to care for the collections on open display in the historic houses. There are hundreds of objects on display ranging from furniture, textiles, pottery and agricultural equipment. Providing plenty of opportunities to share a skill or learn something new.


Caring for this site is no mean feat, we currently have 26 furnished properties including a castle. Plus there are 4 new buildings on the way, including a medieval hall and the Vulcan pub! So plenty to keep us busy. The Museum is also open throughout the year and can have up to 700,000 visitors during that time, which means we are kept on our toes making sure everything continues to look good, day in and day out.

This work is a combined effort, involving staff from many different sections, which often goes on behind the scenes unnoticed by visitors. However, we wish to change this and provide opportunities for volunteers to assist us, not only in the care of objects, but also contribute to interpretation and help inform the public.


We are currently refurbishing one of the cottages on site, aiming to provide a comfortable and creative work space for our new collection care volunteers. We hope to start recruiting in May so if you're interested, I'll be posting more updates as the project continues to progress.

Preventive conservation and collection care. Our objects come in all shapes and sizes and range of materials.

Volunteer project. Rag rugs, from the collection, being used as inspiration to help recreate authentic rugs for the historic houses.

Some of the largest objects we care for at St.Fagans belong to the agricultural collection.

We’re in the process of preparing objects to go on display in the new galleries that are being built on the site of St Fagans.  #makinghistory  

As the textile conservator, I have come across three objects that, though they are kept in the textile store, are not exclusively made of textile but have paper components and have botanical specimens attached, neither of which come under my area of expertise.  Hence, I’ve roped in my two colleagues, the  Senior Conservator Archives and the Senior Conservator Natural Sciences and the three of us will now jointly treat these objects. 

Joint projects are always a great opportunity for sharing skills and learning from colleagues so we’re all really looking forward to this!

Portfolio consisting of paper, botanical specimen and textile

Fragile? and the youth forum

Sian Lile-Pastore, 17 March 2015

Our design inspiration
Our design inspiration

The youth forum in National Museum Cardiff has been working on lots of different projects, but RIGHT NOW they are putting together a publication to tie in with the upcoming contemporary ceramics exhibition Fragile?. This publication is going to be alternative guide to the exhibition and will contain interviews with artists along with some superb articles looking at ceramics, vinyl, death and murder.

We have had some help from lots of museum staff along with interview and writing tips from Emma Geliot (editor of CCQ magazine) and layout and design work planning with Liz Price from Chipper Designs.

We hope it's going to be all ready for the opening on April 18th, but there's still a lot of work ahead! it's just like being on Press Gang (90s tv reference...)

@DyddiadurKate - Corddi Menyn

Mared McAleavey, 13 March 2015

Fel amryw ohonoch dwi’n siwr, dwi wrth fy modd yn darllen @DyddiadurKate ac wedi dotio sut gall brawddeg fer neu gwpl o eiriau ddadlennu cymaint am fywyd a diwylliant teulu a chymuned.

A finna’n gyfrifol am y casgliadau bywyd cartref, ei chyfeiriadau at y gwaith dyddiol o gadw ty a dyletswyddau’r fferm sy’n fy niddori fwyaf. Dwi’n mwynhau’r cyfle i drydar lluniau ar fy nghyfrif @SF_Ystafelloedd er mwyn rhoi cyd-destun gweledol i’w chofnodion syml, megis:

                “golchi yn y boreu”

                “berwi pen mochyn”

                “pobi bara ceirch y boreu”

Ddoe bu Kate yn “corddi”, a gan fod gennym dâp cyfan yn ein harchif sain o atgofion Kate am gorddi a gwneud menyn ar fferm Tyhen, dyma sbardun i mi ymhelaethu a dyfynnu peth o’r cyfweliad.

Roedd y llaethdy, neu’r "dairy” chwedl Kate yn “oer, oer” gyda “meinciau cerrig fel ryw silffoedd cerrig.” Byddai’r llaeth yn cael ei hidlo i mewn i bot llaeth, gyda “slentsen” yn gaead iddo. Llechen gron oedd hon, wedi ei phrynu yn Chwarel Ffestiniog, i arbed “llwch a gwybed” rhag heintio’r cynnwys. Byddai’r llaeth yn sefyll yn y pot “am ryw dri d’wrnod … a’i droi o bob dydd ‘n te. Oedd hynny’n bwysig i chi ga’l y lliw yn y menyn yr un peth ‘n te.” Yn aml iawn byddai’n cymryd mwy o amser i dwchu’r llaeth yn y gaeaf a byddai’n rhaid “dod a fo ar y pentan wrth y tân i gadw’r gwres i fyny.”

Nid corddi â llaw fyddai’r teulu, “oedde ni’n Tyhen yn corddi efo ceffyl … y gwerthyd [sef y echel haearn o’r pwer ceffyl, y tu allan i’r adeilad] yn dod trw’r wal i’r sgubor ac wedyn o’dd o’n rhedeg ar bwlis wedyn i fewn i’r dairy.” Byddai un person yn gofalu nad oed y ceffyl yn symud yn rhy gyflym, a’r llall yn cadw llygaid ar y fuddai. “O raid ni stopio ryw ddwy waith ne dair yn dechre wedi roi ryw ddau dro ‘n te i ollwng y gwynt o’r fudde ne fyse’n byrstio … Fydde ne wydr bach i chi wel’ be’ fydde fo ar torri’n fenyn … Mynd reit ara deg wedyn am blwc ie ‘dyn fydden hel yn fenyn i gyd yn top ychi … Pan ddoi’r gwydyr yn glir, dene chi ‘di darfod ‘n te.”