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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, we are new to sheep, new to homesteading, taking on a lot this summer and would like seasoned opinions and advice please!

We acquired 6 sheep Dorper/ St Croix mix, 4yr old ewe, 2yr old, 3 spring lambs from these 2 & unrelated Dorper ram (father of 3 spring lambs) about 6 weeks ago. Old owner treated them like pets, feeding them alfalfa pellets and table scraps.... no judgement. We are just unprepared for out of season lambing and want to get prepared and monitor feed to help with a hot summer birth if we have to. BTW we are in Arizona, hot hot arizona.

I've tried and tried to attach pictures - but alas every time and even saving as PDF's hasn't worked........ maybe as a follow up to this feed i'll be able to.....

We currently don't have a pen system set up, are on flood irrigation bi-montly, and were hoping to breed the older ewes in September for spring lambs again....and have time to read, watch videos and learn what we need to be prepared. We are currently remodeling the house and wanted to focus there for the next couple months - we worry that if she's pregnant now, we wont be ready and would loose valuable lambs in the process, and it would be just our luck she'd go into labor on a night we had flood irrigation and 8" of water over the field they are in....
I've seen pregnancy tests for sheep, but do they work once they are a couple months in (would think so)?

Thanks for all the help, advice, even if its tricks to getting photos (jpegs that I saved as small files) to load), any great websites for birthing prep for lambs....!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I saw that I had to have at minimum 3 posts to add files to limit spamming.
I'm not likely to Lamb Spam the site... but did read and post on some other threads....keep an eye out. So far it's still blocking me....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I saw that I had to have at minimum 3 posts to add files to limit spamming.
I'm not likely to Lamb Spam the site... but did read and post on some other threads....keep an eye out. So far it's still blocking me....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When I said it's not letting me post files or pictures, here's clarification. I had received a new member message telling me that I cannot post pics because new members are blocked - to reduce spamming.

My solution was to add the picture az my avatar, dont know that the picture quality and size will make it easy to judge, bug ice you do have an opinion please let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update, we still don't know about our "old momma's" pregnancy status.
She turned out to be too cagey to catch for a blood draw. But we did get back a positive Pregnancy reading for our 2nd ewe! If it turns out both are pregnant yay! if not then maybe we take her to "freezer camp" as well.

This will be our first lambing, we are looking for a mentor in the Phoenix area, willing to go help and learn from them, etc. before our expected Mid February due date. Anyone out there??
 

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I know approximately when my ewes are ready to lamb by watching their udders. They will FILL up huge with milk close to the time they are due. I usually get within 3 days of knowing when they'll lamb. In my experience Dorpers lamb without much problems. I've had them lamb out in the field with no issues; sometimes if I have several due at the same time I'll put them in a stall to have time for the little ones to bond and get stronger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sheep Sheep Cow-goat family Goats Hay

Indeed, you speak the truth about bagging up. And when I posted that pic in August she wasnt pregnant. This was taken this morning and we are counting the days now I suppose. Old momma was too cagey to get a blood draw for testing, but last week we noticed her bagging up rapidly.
We've read many good articles, watched more YouTube videos than we thought possible, all while building pens and remodeling the house.
So we are about as ready as 2 noobies will be.
Hoping that old momma and eunice (her daughter) will be uneventful during our 1st lambing but prepping for anything.
Thanks for the well timed post, it revived this line for us!
 

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Have some small 4 X 4 pens ready in a covered area out of any wind.
Put in lots of clean bedding.

When she lambs, confine them in the small pens for a couple of days so she can't walk away from them and they can't wander off.

Also, resist the urge to "help" when she lambs.
If she does most of the clean up, she's more likely to bond with them rather than reject them.
She may also eat the afterbirth and that's normal.

Have some clean dry towels to help after she's done most of it, or if you simply have to.

Have some Iodine to dip or heavily spray the cords after you cut them, leaving about 2".
It WILL stain your hands if you don't use gloves.

Strip the ewes teats to make sure the plug is gone and the milk is flowing, and clean off any dirt and fluids so the lamb/s can get a clean first drink. Watch them to make sure they get a good drink of colostrum and they should be fine after that.

If the weather is cold you can give her a bucket of warm water with a little molasses to keep her energy levels up.

And take LOTS of pictures. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I do need to "resist the urge" - thanks for the support!
I'm such a noobie, and after watching so many videos on assisted births neither rof is slept well thinking about what's to come.
Your notes help! And the stats say that 90 to 95% of lambing is unassisted... so thanks for the talk down.
I'm a worrier, he's to hoping I'll have some cuties to send pics of by next week.

As for
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update, ewe starting labor but not sure if Braxton hicks and a prolapsed uterus or the real birth.
She started having contractions, 2pm ish yesterday, sporadic at best.

More contractions today and very swollen uterus - sorry for the graphic photo, but any help is appreciated!

Goats Grass Goat Adaptation Livestock
 

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You should be seeing a lamb fairly shortly.
I'd go ahead and isolate her in a clean small pen of her own.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks all, soooooo no progress. How long do we wait before we start to worry. She seems relaxed- ish and alert so I'm not worried yet.
But when its 11pm and I'm alone out there I'm going to be worried.
We are 28hrs in and no real signs of progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got it, were hopeful it'll be soon. Ohe seems to have stopped contractions over night these last 2 nights, but were checking every few hours to be sure.
Got her in a pen, which was our own simple miracle, shes wiley and doesn't like confinement.
Thanks for the support!
 
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