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when in doubt, mumble.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all!

I bought a lovely Suffolk ewe on November 4th I call Pheobe. I dont know when she's due, as she'd been in with a ram from August 15th to November 4th. I am ashamed to say that I dont know how to tell when she's getting close! :( We've had sheep a long time, but they're my parents, so I never paid much attention to them. Besides, they're easy lambers, and my parents sort of just let them lamb where and when they may.

But its different with Pheobe. She is a 4-H animal, and she's MINE! :) And she's probably going to lamb when it's cold, instead of in the spring like the others, so I need to know when.

She's not really that large. She was a single herself, though, so she may just be carrying one. And she's a yearling. I'm still hoping for twins, though. :)

What I've been doing is looking at her udder everyday, and then feeling the muscles above her tail and how tight they are. The earliest she could lamb is January 15th, but I dont think it'll be then. I'm hoping for February.

What else can I check? Should I post a picture?

Thanks!!! :D
 

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Look for large tight udder, though they can be deceptive, swollen red/pink vulva. The belly should drop a little too. They don't always follow the rules, so check on her often, and I prefer to have a ewe in a safe dry shelter if possible this time of year. Not just having access, but locked in at night and in foul weather if you can.
 

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when in doubt, mumble.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you!

Yes, yes, she's in a barn. She could go out if she wanted, but no one had been out in forever; the snow is too deep. Wimpy sheepers. :)

I wont really notice the vulva color. She has black skin.
 

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Since this is Phoebe's first time having lambs it is more difficult to tell.

Wendle's suggestion of locking her up inside is very important especially being a maiden ewe, she would be happier with a couple friends too :)
If there are alot of other sheep also inside, I would have an area where she can be kept with just a few others or where she can go by herself to lamb.

Her vulva will be swollen even if she is colored, just not as easy to tell.

Pictures are always nice too.

Did you ask your parents, bet they could give you some ideas ?
 

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August 15th to November 4th
When did the weather change? Those suffolk like it to be cool in the morning/evening before most will start to breed. I put mine first of Oct and usually have lambs first of march to mid-march. Once in a while first of April because someone was miss the first time around. You can still see the swollen of the vulva on a suffolk. G&S
 

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when in doubt, mumble.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, well, I locked her in another pen with 6 gentler ewes. I tried less, but of course they all yelled for their friends untill I added a few more.

I'll get some pictures for tonight. Its sooo cold, I dont want to go out just now!

Weather..

August- hot, but with cool mornings
September- hot/warm, but with cool mornings and evenings
October- it varied from the 30's to the 80's
November- warm for the first couple of days, then it went down to 20 and 30

Pheobe herself was born on February 21st, '07.
We have Dorset X's, and we used to have the lamb in the winter when I was little, but I dont remember that.

:)

Thanks, all replies were very helpful.
 

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when in doubt, mumble.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, Here she is.... I dont think she'll lamb anytime soon, and Im betting she's carrying one. She was a single herself.





and sorry about this one, she wouldnt stop following me. Shes very gentle and tame! I wanted to show the slight rounding of her sides. She was more slender than this when I bought her.



I've been feeling for lambs, but I'm really bad at that and she always tenses her sides anyway when I do. So obviously thats not working. :rolleyes:

And no udder whatsoever, although I've noticed that in goats first fresheners sometimes wait till the last minute. Same with sheep?

Obviously not about to pop or anything. :)
 

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and sorry about this one, she wouldnt stop following me.

And no udder whatsoever, although I've noticed that in goats first fresheners sometimes wait till the last minute. Same with sheep?
Abby, she sure looks great.

Without a rear shot it would be impossible to tell.
Funny, yes those friendly sheep are hard to get a behind shot.

Some wonderful gal on this forum, no names mentioned, lol, asked me for some rear end shots of some ram lambs when she had to decide which two would be traveling to Washington.
Of course as friendly as my Friesians are, it was close to impossible ;)

I would just make sure she couldn't go out at night, since the chance is pretty good she may lamb very early one morning and you wouldn't want her lambing outside in these frigid temps !

As you mentioned, first time fresheners sometimes don't come into milk till last minute.

Signs that might occur, but not always with the maiden ewes is dipping in front of her hips if the baby drops, losing her mucous plug a day or two before, not eating grain the meal before or talking to her unborn lamb....she may do some stretching and lifting of her tail dock (if she has any), and maybe some yawning, which they sometimes do when they are going into labor.

Being the first time, you might want to keep her in with no more than a few ewes in a pen when she looks closer, so if she does have a challenging birth, she won't just get up and walk away.

What do your parents think as far as whether she is bred and how close she looks ?

Deb
 

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Looks to me like it's going to be a while. She will get a LOT wider before she's ready
 

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when in doubt, mumble.
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks. Yeah, thats what I figured. Sighhhh. A long time yet.

My parents so far have said pretty much the same things are people here, so thats good. But you can never have too many opinions! :) Dad says she'll lamb 5 months after she was bred. Helpful guy, huh?

Her and her friends (down to 4 now, I moved some, I'll move more in a few days) are confined in an indoor pen, so no access to outside, even. They can stay there till she lambs, be it February, March, or April.... then I'll kick them out and Pheebs can have some bonding time....

I cant believe I forgot to get a rear shot! I'll get it tonight when she has her grain.... I really meant to, but you know how it is. Feeding and regular stuff, then your hand freezes to the pump when you take off your glove, then you forgot the salt, etc..... :rolleyes:

Its funny, in my choice of ewes when I was looking for one, there were these two huge girls. They were much wider than Pheobe is now back in November. The owner said he could guarentee large twins or triplets, possibly quads out of either of them, (his lamb crop for 2008 was 226%!) and early in the year. That was just what I wanted, but neither of those ewes had nice hind legs in the lambchop area like Pheobe does. :( I'm glad I went with Pheobe, but I wish she was pregnant like those girls were!
 
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