How overdue?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by MommaSasquatch, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    How overdue can a ewe reasonably go? Is there a point at which you should start to be concerned? Today is day 154 since we got our girls. They haven't been near a ram in that time. Still no lambs. I've been back and forth about whether or not I thought they were bred, but I'm pretty sure now that they both are in lamb. How much longer (worst case scenario) can this take and at what point should we worry that something has gone wrong?

    Thanks for all the help. This forum has been a godsend. I know I'm a worried first-time ninny, but I appreciate the kindness with which my questions have been answered.
     
  2. Sprout

    Sprout Well-Known Member

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    Well only four days overdue is not a big worry but I would expect some babies by now. Do they have udders?
     

  3. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    AVERAGE lambing time for sheep is 154 days. Average is some more, some less, some right on time. Are they bagged up???
     
  4. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    Most of mine lamb at around 145 days. I have had them go up to 163 and that is knowing that they were not rebred. Don't get to anxious 'cause it will drive you NUTS! If nothing else, having sheep teaches one patience.
     
  5. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Yes, hang in there. I'm watching two that are "overdue" but neither has that "blown up udder" which signals impending lambs. They have udders, but just before they lamb they'll have UDDERS.

    In fact, they'll look like wooly transport units for UDDERS. And within 24 hours of those UDDERS they'll blow lambs in all directions (Icelandics twin or tripple).

    Part of the issue may be that you want to be present for the birth of your first lambs. If you can get over this you'll be much more relaxed. We saw our first lamb, lo those years ago, missed the second... saw the third. Last year? I swear, each of them dropped their lambs at 4 am without a peep and were laughing at us when we got up in the morning. Only one did I catch "in the act."

    This year? Let's put it this way... I'm not doing midnight butt checks. If they get in trouble they'll start being vocal about it. So far, of course, I've caught the first two just as the mucus plug blew and been able to get them under cover. The first one I stuck around for, big twins, one bent back leg she probably would have managed herself. The second one I went grocery shopping and came home to wee twin ewe lambs and a mother tossing her horns and stomping at me in warning.

    MY babies! I hate to think of how she'd reacted if I'd have hovered over her. She might well have rejected one or both lambs.

    You'll recognize those udders though, even if you've never lambed before you'll look out there and your first thought will be "wow!" Followed by "eek.. that HAS to be painful!"
     
  6. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    No huge udders yet. sigh. I've noticed definite slow enlargement, but nothing obvious. They are both looking kind of sunken around their pelvic bones like everything's loosening up back there. Doggone if one thing I read didn't say Icelandics often go around 143-146 days. So of course I expected it to be sooner than this. It's kind of like when my midwife swore to me that one of my kids would be two weeks early (and I knew better than to expect it but I sure hoped she was right!). Of course that meant he was a week late. As soon as you start expecting it God gives you a turn around to teach you how little control you really have over things..

    Just what I needed, another lesson in patience. :rolleyes:

    MC you are right, I WAS really hoping to be able to be there. I'm not doing midnight butt checks (It's more like 10 pm before bed and first thing when I wake up in the morning) but I probably could ease up a bit during the day. I start a job outside the home today so that will decide things somewhat. I simply won't be here in the afternoons and evenings so I'll have to let it go while I'm gone.
     
  7. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Maddening, isn't it? I was off by a month with Dolly's date, so put through the agony of waiting an extra month while her udder just got bigger and bigger and bigger... :rolleyes:
     
  8. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Don't worry about your Icelandics getting into trouble without you... provided you've been feeding decent (but not great) hay and not graining them they should throw modestly sized lambs on their own, just fine. Even my lambs usually lamb without my help. Nor, frankly, do they want any help.

    That said, I know a farm who fed good alfalfa this year that is having very large (10-12 pound) lambs this year and having to pull a number of them out. Moderation in all things, including the quality of feed.
     
  9. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    Be very careful about over feeding them. We lost a ram (almost one year old) and a 4 month old ewe lamb from frothy bloat. Better to starve them than overfeed. Also do the over eating shots. Very necessary. Been there done that and learned the hard way.
     
  10. Sprout

    Sprout Well-Known Member

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    On the contrary a starved ewe flock can get you nothing but poor, stunted, and aborted lambs. Overfeeding will not kill a sheep. If that were true you'd never see a fat one because they'd all be dead. Changing a diet too quickly can kill a sheep quite easily though. Frothy bloat is most commonly a legume intolerance but it can be caused by any rich feed. I would imagine that's not the case for your average ewe flock which has been on alfalfa ever since they bagged up if not all winter. I do agree totaly with the shots. An .80 cent investment in your $80 dollar lamb is well worth it.

    Sorry about your babies. It sucks loosing lambs. I almost lost my whole crop to that quick acting phnumonia that swept through here last year. Acute illnesses are probably the most heart wrenching for any farmer.
     
  11. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Hey, did you get your lambs?
     
  12. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    No. We spent much of the day trying to track down a vet 'cause we're pretty concerned as this is now day 166 since we got them. No luck with the vet either. We should have lined one up sooner, but haven't found one that'll "do" sheep.

    There is one very, very slim possibility for them having been bred since then. Sometime in January my ds left the gate open. IF they happened to have been in heat then and IF my neighbor's ram was on their property at the time (I don't remember seeing him and I think they usually keep their sheep on another piece of land elsewhere) and IF the girls happened to somehow get access to him in the very short amount of time that they were out of my sight, well then... They were only out for a couple hours and we were following them trying to get them home for most of that time. The next closest sheep are a mile further than they ever got that day.

    I don't know. I'm waffling on what I should do. Right now I've got a possible vet on the phone (I'm on hold) but I don't know if he'd even be able to tell me anything.

    They've both got colostrum. They wouldn't if they weren't pregnant would they? But still no large udders. They seem healthy and happy and acting normal.

    Oops, the receptionist just came back on and said he won't treat sheep anymore either but gave me another name of someone 45 minutes away.
     
  13. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    Well I give up. I finally talked to a vet. He seriously doubts they are bred and I guess I do too. I just wanted lambs so badly that I didn't want to believe it was true. He said that what I milked out of them could be left over from their last lactation which was over a year ago but oh well. I don't know why Blondie got so big. She is seriously way huger than she was a couple months ago and I have no explanation. She's low in the belly and wide and sticks out more on the right side than the left. But it's too late, and I really doubt anything happened when they were out that one time. Sooo... I did milk them out today and got a small amount of clear/cloudy something from each. I figured if they're not going to give me lambs this year I'll at least give it a shot at inducing lactation. At worst it'll be a waste of time but give me (and them) practice for next year. Blondie already behaves like an absolute doll on the stand but Feona's a bit less cooperative (actually she acts much like my 2 yo mid-tantrum!) so some practice at putting up with me would do her good. At best it'll work and that'd be really cool. Life goes on. At least I have less yard to mow this year thanks to our girls and yummy fiber to play with or sell.

    On a positive note I really, REALLY liked the vet I talked to. He is absolutely the vet for us! He was knowledgeable, and even though I'm not an established client his office put me right through to his cell phone (he was out on a farm call) so I could talk to him. And they were friendly not snobby like some of the pet vets around here. That was definitely something good that came out of this.

    So now I'm looking for a goat in milk. I don't really want a goat (I like sheep way better), but I do want milk so there ya go. I'd treat her well anyway and I'm sure the children would be thrilled (I hear goats are quite a bit friendlier than sheep?). Anyone know of one for sale in NW Indiana? Off to the goat board to ask that same question...
     
  14. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Bummer. Maybe false pregnancy for the weight gain and milk secretion?

    Too bad you're not closer, I've got a dorset ewe for sale who thinks she's a goat. Will climb right up you for food, nips you in the butt as you walk in front of her, and often steps on your feet because she hugs so closely when she walks with you. Ridiculous, really. If I'd wanted a goat, I'd have bought one, lol!
     
  15. HesterDaddy

    HesterDaddy Well-Known Member

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    I have an ewe who I wasn't sure was pregnant either. However in the last 2 weeks she has really grown in size and over the past two days I've noticed that she is bagging up. Not HUGE HUGE udder, but definitely growing... twice as big today as a couple of days ago. I understand fron this thread that her udder will probably get fairly enormous before she lambs.

    My question has to do with crotching and removing tags. Am I right in my understanding that it dangerous at this point if I restrain her to quickly remove tags and wool around her backside? If my memory serves me right I should have done this 3-4 weeks ago.

    Thanks!

    Mark
     
  16. Sprout

    Sprout Well-Known Member

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    Well it depends on how gentled she is. I've done it on ewes that advanced but they'll come up for pets in the pasture. If she gets really nervous at handling then I wouldn't stress her.