Can you smell ewes in estrus?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by kesoaps, Dec 30, 2006.

  1. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    It's so easy to tell when a mare is in season...a blind person can tell from the smell. But I'd never noticed a scent with my ewes. However, the three girls who visited in November have an owner who told me she could smell when one of them was in, as it was similar to a mare in season. Sure enough, while they were here, I got a whiff of that scent one day.

    Same woman just emailed saying she thinks one of the ewe lambs didn't take, as she could 'smell' her (although which one is difficult to say.)

    What do you think? Have you been able to smell when your girls are cycling?
     
  2. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    I can only tell when the rams start flapping their lips at the girls. :)

    I've not been able to tell, myself. Maybe my nose isn't as good?
     

  3. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    I've never smelled it with any of my girls, Frazzle, so it's not just your nose. But I certainly knew what she was talking about one day while they were here...I'd not smelled that smell except around mares before :shrug:
     
  4. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    I have never, ever heard that a ewe in heat has a different smell (to a human). I can only tell if the ewe stands to be covered, as opposed to avoiding the ram.
     
  5. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Odd, isn't it? But she's noticing a two week cycle...I don't know what else it could be; it smells just like a horse in heat!
     
  6. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have to admit I seldom get my nose anywhere near that part of the lamb - my rams sure do though and they positively know what they are smelling.
     
  7. diamondefarm

    diamondefarm Well-Known Member

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    Ah, yes. The flehmann response. Good indicator.
     
  8. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    heck I can tell when another woman near me is "in estrus"-- we each have different levels of sensory perception, and some people actually work at developing their skills! After all-- those knock-off perfume companies hire people with exceptional senses of smell to 'decode' the perfumes they want to copy.... And guys, you are more aware of the 'estrus' smells than you realize.....
     
  9. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Yucca, you wouldn't need to put your nose anywhere near this particular ewe...I could smell it while in the flock. Not sure which one it is, however.
     
  10. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    Boy, your sniffer is much better than mine! I can't smell the mare when she is in heat nor the ewes. Dumb question - What does each one smell like?
     
  11. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    LOL...some mares are stronger than others, and I think it depends on if they're stalled or not, too. I've not smelled our mare, although she's not quite two yet. Still, it's a pretty strong smell if you're cleaning a stall; not quite urine but you can't miss it. Maybe that's why it's harder to smell ewes, because they're outside more than confined in a barn? I don't think my sniffer is better, I just think her ewe is stronger smelling than anything else I've come across!
     
  12. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    Flehmann and lip flapping are two different things. The lip flapping, grunting, and pawing are the rams way of romancing the ewe, to see if she will stand for his mounting. So in theory he won't waste his precious energy if she isn't.
    Flehmann doesn't necessarily mean that the ewe is in heat. This is the act of the ram curling is upper lip after smelling the ewe's urine or girl parts, trapping the smell for analysis, to see if she is in heat.
    The only time I noticed an odor coming from a ewe's girl parts, the ewe had a uterine infection.
     
  13. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    To me the sheep in estrus smell much like the sheep not in estrus, a bit like the rams and sort of like half the chickens ........the half not roasting in the oven that is. Guess I'm not special. The only different smell I've ever noticed coming from a sheep is when we've had a ewe with a dead and rotting lamb inside. Now THAT is a special smell.
     
  14. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    Oh, Ross, don't you just LOVE the smell of necrotic tissue? Amazing how it comes out of the mouth!!!


     
  15. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Oh, thank you, I'll pass on that smell if you don't mind. Licorice had two stillborn fetuses last spring and one live lamb...why she thought she needed to conceive triplets is beyond me, but that's what she did. No stink, though!