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You know it is lambing season when...

 
Travis Johnson
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You know it is lambing season when…

1. Your neighbors think you are a heroine addict because when you go to buy a pack of gum, a hypodermic needle falls out of your jacket pocket from giving vaccinations to lambs!

2. No amount of concealer type of make-up can cover the bright dark spots under your eyes from weeks of checking the lambing shed every few hours!

3. A “good nights sleep” is described as 4 consecutive hours without having to get up!

4. Your facebook page doesn’t have an updated photo of your children or grandchildren, but it does have one of the triplets born two nights ago!

5. Your normally spotless home has laundry in the hamper, dirty dishes on the kitchen table and a mud room spotted with manure because a set of twins, triplets and a single all decided to arrive about the same time.

6. Your emotional highs and lows are in direct proportion to the farms lamb mortality rate.

7. Your wife is dressed up in rainbow leg warmers, muck boots and brown Carhartt jacket one moment holding a baby lamb covered in amniotic fluid, and an hour later is dressed in a fashionable dress and high heels ready to go to church…and you find yourself rather surprisingly attracted to both (see number 3 as to why).

8. You friends and family instinctively know that “we got 3 in the house” is not reference to children, pets or even cell phones, but rather Shepard code 101 for ‘weak lambs that are not doing so well’ and need to be brought in where it is warm.

9. You have never got any former medical training, but can give injections, perform enemas, know mineral deficiencies by the lambs symptoms, convert dry weights to liquid measure without looking them up, and even can be a midwife and withdraw multiple lambs from a single womb.

10. You spare no expense in buying medications, paying for gas, calling vets, researching on the internet, and conversing with neighbors just so that you can say, you tried your best to keep every lamb born alive. It is, after all, what being a sheep farmer is all about.

11. Your fingers are permanently stained a reddish-brown from dipping so many umbilical cords
 
Mary-Ellen Zands
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I just pulled an all nighter with my soon to be retired Caramel. She has always given me triplets, and she was pawing at the ground and didn't want me to leave her alone, so I figured there would be a third one. I didn't want to take a chance if there would be a problem. I was wrong. That's okay at least I could go to bed at 0400 with calm. These 2 boys were pretty big. I'm so glad there were only 2. Otherwise I'd be a very busy Mama!
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Just a few hours old. Little buck
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Bucky number 2
 
Kelly Smith
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Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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we started with dairy cows - and i have always been a bit scared of having to pull a calf.

then we got sheep and after having to help a few of them this year, im much more confident i can help our cow now.

ultimately, my goal is to not have to do anything and the ewes will all lamb on their own. maybe with a smaller flock its less common?

 
Travis Johnson
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I do no intercede on my ewes behalf unless it has been over an hour. If they are struggling, or if I see hoofs, then I will assist. With sheep it is really easy because they are probably breech lambs. Just grab the legs and give a quarter turn when half out. That is the part most sheep farmers miss and just tug straight out. Its a LOT harder on the ewe.

I have no idea what the percentage is, but 1% or less I would say. It is not very common, and most of the time even then they somehow survive. You can tell a difficult lamb birth because their wool is stained incredibly with amniotic fluid.
 
Mike Turner
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Location: Upstate SC
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You can control when a ewe gives birth by when you feed them. I want all of my lambs to be born during the day, so I feed them around 8 to 9am. This year all of my ewes gave birth between 7am and 1pm. I've used this technique for the last 2 years, haven't had a night birth in all of this time, and have stopped going out in the wee hours of the night to check for ewes in labor. Prior to this I used to feed the ewes in the late afternoon and most of the births occurred during the night until about 7am.
 
Kelly Smith
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Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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Mike Turner wrote:You can control when a ewe gives birth by when you feed them. I want all of my lambs to be born during the day, so I feed them around 8 to 9am. This year all of my ewes gave birth between 7am and 1pm. I've used this technique for the last 2 years, haven't had a night birth in all of this time, and have stopped going out in the wee hours of the night to check for ewes in labor. Prior to this I used to feed the ewes in the late afternoon and most of the births occurred during the night until about 7am.

thats interesting.
during the winter, we feed at ~7am and ~830pm. all but 1 of our katahdins had lambs during the day.
with the same feeding schedule/times, our royal white sheep have lambed ~1/2 overnight and 1/2 during the day.
 
Travis Johnson
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I have heard that as well, but I have yet to see it work on our farm.

We feed our sheep at 1 PM everyday (during the winter season) and yet our sheep lamb at any hour. Maybe it is because we have Corridales and they breed out of season too, though I rather doubt it. I would probably attribute it to having more sheep than a single ram can service, so with a few other rams adding to the competition; kind of like a downtown bar on a Friday night; my girls are more apt to go into labor at any hour. That is what I might attribute it to.

My sheep nutritionists claims he can adjust the gender of the lambs being thrown from ewe-lambs to ram-lambs by what is in their mineral mix, but I rather doubt that. That flies in the face of what we know is true about a Freemartin Heifer. If that is chocked up and proven to be genetics...and nasty genetics at that...so I seriously doubt mineral mix adjustments are going to decide gender.

My father and grandfather; they always blamed the ram. No matter what occurred during the year for the flock, it was automatically his fault. (Being the only male in a house with a wife and 4 daughters, I know that feeling well). Fortunately I get to stay; though for rams, historically they disappeared soon after murmurings against them began to surface.
 
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