Homesteading Forum banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
931 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up a little ewe lamb in the fall, my plans are to keep her as a pet and have her offspring for the freezer. She age should I breed her, when is the best time of year to breed her? What is gestation for sheep? Does she need any special care while pregnant?

Any sheep related info would be greatley appreciated! I know nothing about sheep except how to cook them :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,981 Posts
Some people have their ewes bred the first season, which would make her five or six months old. I prefer to wait until the following year, at which time she is about a year and a half and has finished growing and is less dependent on her mother. The time of year depends on when you want the lambs to drop. This sheperdess prefers lambs to drop NOT on the windiest and coldest day of the year, so May is good. They will start to breed in August, so you have to separate the boys from the girls at that time. I usually took out my ram at the end of August, certainly by Labor Day. On Thanksgiving the ram was the most thankful of anyone because he was let in with the girls. This brought my lambing (add five months) to late April through late May.

You'll want to butcher the lambs when the pasture gives up, just before it snows, so figure your plans that way. If your first snow is around Thanksgiving, butcher the first week of November. If your lamb dropped in May, this would make him five months old, which is still a bit small. If he drops in February (bred early October), he will be eight months old. The thing is, pasture is best, with no grain, so you want him butchered before he's eating hay.

Also, three sheep make a flock. A single sheep is going to feel insecure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
931 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
SweetPea is a single lamb, but I have 2 goats and she is more than happy with them! I was concerned about just having her as a single but she has bonded with the goats and thinks that she is a goat! lol

I thought it was to early to breed her but I had some people tell me that she would be ready. I prefer to let any animal grow and breed late rather than rushing into it and having problems. I have a friend that has a ram, I will take her to visit him in the fall, as for the time of year that she is going to lamb, She is in the barn at night and is happy to be in, I would prefer to keep her and the lamb(s) in for at least a week, so I know that they are doing well before I let them out side.

So gestation is 5 months???

Thanks, keep the info comming!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
953 Posts
I figure that my earliest due date would be 145 days from the day they are bred. The due date can come earlier or later than 145 days depending on what book the ewe read.:D
 

·
Just living Life
Joined
·
8,280 Posts
I never bred before they were a full 2 years old. Found I had a lot less problems than the other breeders I knew, that bred at 1 year old.

Because of the wet weather we have, I prefered to have the lambs the end of April beginning of May.

Heres a great web site to check out.
http://www.sheepandgoat.com/shlinks.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,085 Posts
I've always bred my ewe lambs, at about 7 months. They should be about 75% of their adult weigh. Since they are still growing, they require extra nutrition so that they continue to grow to their potential and have enough milk so their lambs also grow well.
I normally manage the ewe lambs in a separate group so that I know they are getting enough to eat, and also I can be a little more vigilant at lambing than we are with the adult ewes.
Lisa
http://www.somerhillfarm.com
 

·
Pure mischief
Joined
·
897 Posts
Depends entirely on you, the breed and the lineage.

I breed my Icelandics in their first year. It was recommended to me by someone who is a researcher and judge in Iceland. In Icelandics there's evidence of unhealthy fat accumulation in ewes who haven't been bred in their first year. But, not all Icelandic breeders choose to do that. In some cases they just don't feel the ewes do as well being bred in the first year.

The other thing you need to think about is that "young mums" tend to have more problems and are more likely to not nurse their babies etc. So, I recommend to people who have bought lambs from me that if they're going to breed in the first year, they need to be prepared for extra work. So far so good here but you do need to be prepared for it.

I'm not sure I would make the same decision with a different breed.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top