As of late, every morning – before chores – I check my prego Shetland ewes. I play a bit of a lambing game, not knowing for sure and for certain WHEN breeding occurred. [They make ram breeding harnesses that colors/marks the ewe’s back-side when the ram mounts her, but, I don’t use one.]
Normally, I set-up my breeding pens in the Fall and unless I’m lucky/actually observe the ram breeding the ewe, I guesstimate lambing dates for Spring. The normal gestation period of a female sheep/ewe is approximately 147 days, ranging from 144 to 152 days. With a small flock, I know my sheep well. As the approximate lambing date approaches, I look for typical ‘signs‘ and behavior of ewes soon-to-go-into-labor. The ewe is then moved into individual jugs or small pens in the barn to lamb. BTW, I’ve also experienced lambing in the back forty… surprise!!
Yesterday morning [at 4 a.m.], I was greeted by our first 2014 Spring lamb, a single white ewe lamb [Dove X Ceylon] weighing in at 7-pounds. When I invaded her privacy, mama was doing a fine job drying her off! I suspect she lambed about an hour earlier since the afterbirth had already passed. I dipped the lamb’s umbilical in iodine and stripped the mama’s waxy plug from her teats, expressed a few squirts of colostrum-rich milk and pointed the newborn lamb in the right ‘direction’. A slight distraction from my routine morning chores. I TOTALLY love an unassisted natural birth! WOOT!
Ramble N White Dove (Dam)
Romyldale Ceylon (Sire)
Dove and her ewe lamb – three days old.