ok, they are bred, how do i tell when they are gonna lamb?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by BackwoodsIdaho, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. BackwoodsIdaho

    BackwoodsIdaho Well-Known Member

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    Probably should have asked this before I bred my ewes but better late than never. I bread 3 suffolk ewes and one southdown in November of last year. I think they are all settled and I know that 145 days is about the gestation period. The question is what signs should I start looking so I know when they are going to lamb?

    Any help is appreciated.
     
  2. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Well... we first noticed we had something going on when our ewes started to look like wooly trash cans on skinny legs! They could barely get through the door. This is a Very Hot Tip that you're facing impending something. The second is when you look out into your paddock and notice that you have Udders.. with ewes attached. Big Honking Udders. Can't miss them, oh my, udders.

    The last sign is mucus. The ewes will expel a mucus plug a few hours before The Main Event. Think "slick clear goey fluid."

    Our ewes were most considerate last year and they either lambed on their own without assistance, or lambed at a positively civilized hour, like 11 am.

    Things to have on hand before this all comes to pass: lube, in case you've got to go in there. A cup (we use a yogurt cup) of betadine for the cords. A bottle so you can milk out colostrum if you need to and get it into that lamb. If you're in an area that needs it: BoSe for selenium injections (call vet, it is prescription). And Laura's book... see http://www.vermontsheep.com. Blue book. Plastered all over the site. If you don't have a copy get one. It is worth its weight in gold. We photocopied several of the pages and nailed them up in the sheep shed as references.

    If you click around VermontSheep.com you'll find your way to http://woolandfeathers.com... look for the "living a Vermont Life" section, and click on the story about lambs for my husband's version of our first lambing. Because it will become patently clear to you that whatever list you find in whatever text on lambing will be missing one key item...

    You will need champagne. Several bottles of it. Put in fridge right about the time you notice wooly trash cans on legs.
     

  3. mamalisa

    mamalisa Well-Known Member

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    Well.....

    Having spent 2 and a half weeks peering at the nether end of my sheep, here is what I found:

    Somewhere around 2 weeks before they lamb, they will bag up. Of course, just to be perverse, yours might wait til just before, but.....so you make sure they are locked up at night, and have nice dry bedding. And get up every night if its cold, to check.

    The closer they are, the pinker their ampersand (thank you haggis!) is. When they want to be alone, they are ready--check frequently. The colder/wetter/darker it is, the more likely they are to lamb, especially if no-one else is there to help.
     
  4. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    LOL, Morrison! That about sums it up.

    Last year was our first time with lambs. I was so worried, but fortunately for me our experienced ewe was the first to lamb. I'd been checking her every hour for two days (or so it seemed.) Finally decided to come in and soak in the tub for a bit. Wouldn't you know that when I came out there were twins? I missed the whole derned thing. It did managed to help me settle down and learn a bit about newborns first hand.

    The other two ewes did it on their own as well. One picked the coldest, rainiest day of March. She hadn't bagged up so I had no clue she was ready. Just looked outside and saw her nosing what looked like a molehill... The other ewe was a first timer as well and lambed in the wee hours without giving any real outward sign either. She'd bagged up, but nothing else to indicate we were to watch like hawks. I was pretty grateful that, although there were slight complications with the lamb, all went relatively well all things considered!
     
  5. jacobs

    jacobs Well-Known Member

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    Usually when they want to be alone they will lamb within 12hrs. Every once in a while I get surpised but it's been all pleasant surprises this year. An indicator that you missed would be all the other sheep standing outside the barn. For some reason, my sheep give the lambing ewe the whole barn and won't come in until I get the lamb and ewe in a birthing stall. My sheep are lambing now, started Nov 15, 15 lambs so far with the last one last week. Six more ewes to go. They spread out just right this year.
     
  6. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    6 down 214 to go. Why on earth did I breed for Jan/Feb lambs? Get Laura Lawsons red lambing book too. You'll find the odd contradiction, but sheep can be a little contrary at times.
     
  7. ovsfarm

    ovsfarm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In my vast experience (two years with a dozen sheep), these are the major signs:

    If the sheep look like they have been eating watermelons and like explosion is imminent, you have about a month to wait.

    If the sheep look so slender that you begin to wonder whether that ram was any good after all, expect lambs at the next, most inconvenient hour.

    Also, if you are going to do any of that good vet stuff, get at it early. With my Soay, I have found that a 2 hour old lamb can usually outrun me in an open pasture. Granted, I am old and slow, but those little stinkers get quick fast!
     
  8. jacobs

    jacobs Well-Known Member

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    :haha: :haha: :haha: Been there, done that!! I can relate.
     
  9. SmokedCow

    SmokedCow Well-Known Member

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    IF you feed your ewes corn or anything....they will go off the feed when they are close...thats on major sign we use when we lock them up...EWES DONT HAVE UDDERS...THE RAMS HAVE UDDERS!! just an information tid-bit...haha...But the EWE UDDERS get hard when they are close!
    GOOD LUCK!
    AJ