We deworm and vaccinate about 2 months prior to lambing, so that the lambs are protected (with the stuff we use, that works but be aware that not all of the medications are safe for pregnant sheep so do check first!). We use Tasvax and Ivomec injectable, it works where we are, so far.
You want to have an elastrator so you can castrate ram lambs and make them wethers, and dock tails if need be (not sure about Katahdins tails), whatever is required for ear tagging where you live (we have nationally mandated ear tags here in Canada), and towels in case you have to help dry a lamb off (best to let mama do it but if there are twins and it's cold sometimes that first one doesn't get mama's attention if she's busy and it can get chilled). Iodine for dipping navels, and a big rubbermaid bin that you can fill with warm water if you have a really cold lamb that has to be warmed up. Oh, and a thermometer that is dedicated for animal use ONLY. And labelled as such!
I don't use always gloves, if I have to assist, I just wash ... but if you want gloves, be sure to have those. Also, take off your rings for lambing season! A shepherdess I know nearly lost her wedding ring inside a ewe.
Have bottles and nipples ready in case you end up with a bottle lamb, and either some colostrum replacer or better yet, the real thing stockpiled and ready. A tube in case you have to tube feed is really good as well (just a length of IV tubing and a funnel).
Most importantly, a set of binoculars so you can watch the ewes from the comfort of the house, and a record book to track who lambed and when, and the tag numbers of the babies that belong to each mama.
Good luck, it's a lot of fun even though it's also a lot of work!
After years of hauling wet, slimey lambs to the lambing jug I finally bought a lamb sling. Get one, they are great! It keeps the lambs low when they are carried so the ewes follow better. It has really saved my back! It is also great for weighing them.
I also make sure that my nails are trimmed short during lambing season. I don't use gloves because I can't feel what's going on well enough while wearing them if I have to reposition a lamb for delivery. (I had carpel tunnel for 9 years before having it corrected through surgery. I have lost a bit of the "feel" sensation in both hands because of it.)
I keep vasaline as a lubricant. I also keep soap and a towel for me around. I wish I had warm water in the barn!
My advice stand back and let it happen. They are great hands off sheep. Advise to wait until ear is stronger and bigger before tagging as you can cause damage on a new born. Each area and method is different. We came from the UK where Fell and Moorland sheep farming is big. Trust me back in the UK farmers do not drive 1 hour to the moor and then walk thousands of acres looking for their lambs so they can dip navels. Mainly its a live and let live situation.
I appreciate that many small holders will not follow that method but try and relax and remember that sheep have been doing this for years, and more problems are caused by interferring then by letting nature do its thing.
Katahdins are great pasture birthers even in minus weather.....
It's good to worm the ewes as soon as they give birth, and they should have already had their CD&T vaccinations. If they havent, you can do that now and it will give the lambs some immunity until it's time to vaccinate them.
You'll want some good scissors to trim the cords, and iodine to put on the cords to prevent infection and help dry it.
Once my lambs are dry, I put them in 4 X 4 pens to let them bond with the ewes, and to help keep them warmer. Usually 24 hrs is long enough.
If you dont already have them, get the Laura Lawson books:
A forum community dedicated to living sustainably and self sufficiently. Come join the discussion about livestock, farming, gardening, DIY projects, hobbies, recipes, styles, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!