Updating the lambing supply list: hand lotion for the Soay shepherd

Sooner or later Steve will have time to update the lambing supply list on the main part of our website, but for now, an important reminder to all new Soay owners about to go through lambing for the first time — be sure you have an ample supply of your favorite hand lotion on hand. Every year when my hands threaten to turn to cracked wrecks during lambing I remind myself to mention hand lotion on the supplies page, and every year I forget once lambing is over, hence this interim reminder.

Even though Soay ewes lamb without human assistance and even though we try not to handle the newborns bare-handed for at least a day until they are well bonded with their mothers, it is inevitable that we find ourselves washing our hands far more frequently during lambing. Besides that, during lambing we put on and take off gloves a lot more often — leather or cotton gloves for chores, latex gloves for jugging, rubber gloves for various other tasks. Whatever the material, what little moisture is left in the skin of our hands after the more frequent handwashing gets absorbed into the gloves, over and over again.

There are many more brands of hand lotions than there are Soay shepherds, so I won’t even attempt a comprehensive list, but of course I cannot resist a few comments. I have friends who swear by various Burt’s Bees products, the most industrial-strength of which seems to be their Hand Salve. My all-time favorite that I keep in the kitchen, bedroom, my purse and my shopping bag, the car, the truck, the lambing shed, and just about anywhere else I can tuck a jar or tube of hand cream, is Camille Beckman’s unscented Glycerine Hand Therapy. It is fabulous all-year round yet stands up to the challenges of lambing time, and definitely worth fussing at the stores carrying Ms. Beckman’s products to stock the unscented version. For some reason, it is easiest to find in hospital gift shops and Hallmark card stores, or online. For the worst hand days, those times when your thumbs are like sandpaper, nothing beats the original tried and true Bag Balm.

No matter what brand you favor, lay in a good supply before lambing starts. The bad news is, you’ll need it. The good news is that every time you handle you adult Soay, during lambing or otherwise, the lanolin in their fleece will help keep your hands soft. Now there’s a side benefit for Soay shepherds!

Got a favorite? Let me know and I will add it to the short list here.

For now …

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  1. robson says:

    Carolla’s Beeswax Skin Creme! I don’t know how widely it’s distributed, but it’s fantastic. I’ve been washing my hands too often, too (along with wool, in my case). Glad to have your suggestions in case we need a backup. We do have a nice big tin of Bag Balm.