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Lambing Time
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F14    Posted 02-23-2001 at 15:31:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
Got my first lambs this evening. Teeny has lambed within 3-4 days of the same date for three years now, always throws twins, always a male and a female.

I love this time of year. 4 more ewes to go...

Canadian Cowboy    Posted 02-23-2001 at 15:37:32       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thats great, can't wait till my ewe's lamb. Im not expecting then to start till march 20/21.

Where abouts are you at, must not be any snow or cold weather to worry about, im just a little worried that the snow will still be here when my ewe's start lambing. Im early compared to other breaders in my area, they arn't lambing till april.

Good luck with the rest of lambing,

jim cook    Posted 02-24-2001 at 10:04:41       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hey Canadian Cowboy:
My family used to raise purebred sheep, had them for over 35 years. We always aimed to start lambing as early in January as we could get ewes to breed. This means lambing them indoors in barns. What you do is pen up the new mother with her lambs in a 4'x4' pen with a bucket of water and some good alfalfa hay. This requires hand feeding grain, hay and water. Also, if your sheep are really wild and spooky don't do this.
Early lambing allowed us to crepe feed the lambs after they were out in larger pens. Our crepe fed, early winter, white faced, Columbias would weigh in with gains of 3/4 to 1 lb/day. This allowed us to sell those lambs going to market during the peak, spring market prices. Our best lambs weighed in with gains reaching 1.25 lb/day and most reached market weight in under 120 days.
Ram lambs kept for breeding stock could weigh as much as 175-180 lbs by August. We showed 4H most years, so actual weights are known to us. I am not guessing or making this up!
Sadly, the flock was my mother's project and she got out just before my father passed away in 1995. The current sheep business is probably not as good as it was in 1971.
About lambing inside...lambs in wintertime are bored and have little to do but eat. Lambs born on grass spend more time playing than eating.
Summer grass fed lambs which take 11 monthes to make market weight may use cheap grass pasture for feed, but you have 3-4 times as long ownership
in them as well. Much more time for disease, predators, etc. There are a lot of ways to do this and whichever way works best for you is not wrong. Jim Cook, Iowa.

F14    Posted 02-24-2001 at 04:42:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm in Eastern Maine. LOTS of snow and cold, but Shetlands are very hardy, doesn't bother them a bit.

I'm told that lambs do better in cold weather, as it stimulates them to eat more. Mine typically lamb in February and March, and haven't had a problem yet.

mugsy3    Posted 02-26-2001 at 07:14:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
It's great having babies on the farm, but aren't you nervous this time of year? How often have things gone wrong? We had 2 goats in kid last spring (boys pets). One died before kidding. The other did fine. We used to raise hogs until the market dropped. And farrowing left me a bag of nerves. I was in and out of the barn many, many times a day! Actually I'm more relaxed about farrowing now (since they generally do really well on their own - I learn that from experience), and are going to get a bred sow come spring.
How do you handle the stress of springtime on the farm?

F14...Stress?    Posted 02-26-2001 at 15:40:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
I never thought of it as stressful. I LOVE lambing time, just as excited as a kid with new puppies!

I lost my first lamb last year, mostly my own fault. One of my ewes had triplets (first time that had happened too) and I mis-judged her time. One may have been still-born, not sure, and another got chilled. If I had been right there, like I'm supposed to be, I'd have saved the one that got chilled. That was a bummer, but it's also part of the game, I guess.

I only have 5 ewes, so it's not a big workload, and I find caring for and watching my animals to be a good stress reducer, not a stress producer.

Fixing the same computer 4 or 5 times a week because the teacher can't be bothered to supervise the kids in her room, now that's stressful.

F14...BTW    Posted 02-26-2001 at 15:46:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
Here's a link to my web page where I discuss the joys of hobby farming.

Canadian Cowboy    Posted 02-26-2001 at 15:38:10       [Reply]  [Send Email]
You handle the stress of sping births by being prepared. The less prepared you are the more work you are creating for your self, at least thats the way I think. The first season can be a little nerve racking but as time goes on you get used to it and enjoy your time bringing new life into the world. In most instances farm animals don't need assitance. They have been birthing in the wilds way before we tamed and domesticated them. Half the problem now adays is that people can get to involved, its a fault we have. knowing when to step in and assist in very important.

we also set up our selve with birthing problems by poor breeding practice. Not just any male animal should be used to breed the females. The wrong matches can lead to birthing troubles, it all has to do with genetics and selection. There would be less c-cestion births at hospitals if woman chose their mates based on genetics instead of there walet sizes.

just soem thoughts,

F14...Yup!    Posted 02-26-2001 at 15:44:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mostly all I have to do with my girls is wipe off the lamb so they don't get chilled, and make sure Mom's faucets are clear. I also dip their umbilicals in Iodine, but I'm not entirely sure that's necessary.

I have a registered Shetland ram that runs with the girls all the time, and the combination has worked wonderfully. He's patient with the lambs, and hell-on-wheels with predators. Only drawback is he won't play with my dog, which mystifies her completely.

Grump got tagged by a three day old ram lamb today, and I swear she was laughing at it. She gets mad when the big ram tags her though...

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