Most people know the 4 main seasons of the year but when you raise sheep, lambing season is the 5th season!! This year as in previous years the lambs were due to arrive around March 5 & the first ones arrived March 5th, pretty lucky I would say!
The steps to getting things ready are somewhat involved. In my last post, I showed all of you the shearing of the sheep which is done usually a couple of weeks before the lambs start arriving. Once they are sheared and the time gets closer John keeps all the sheep in the barn.
This makes it easier to see what ewe (female sheep) might be getting close to delivering her lambs. In some situations, their feed is increased to help them put on some weight if needed.
According to Sheep 101:
Lambing Season: A Normal Delivery
Most ewes give birth to their lambs without any difficulty or need for assistance from the shepherd or a veterinarian. Normal presentation is the nose and two front legs, one lamb at a time. A backward delivery (hooves pointed down) is also considered normal, though many shepherds will provide assistance if they observe this situation.
John has been fortunate this year that many have been normal delivieries but he has had to help a couple!
How many lambs can a sheep have?
Ewes usually give birth to 1 to 3 lambs each year. Birthing is called lambing. Twin births ( two babies) is most common in well-managed flocks and with many breeds of sheep. First-time moms, especially yearlings, are more likely to have single births, though twins are not uncommon in some breeds. Ewes produce their largest litters of lambs when they are between the ages of 3 and 6.
The more lambs a ewe has the more feed she needs to produce the milk for them. Having a ewe raise twins is ideal however sometimes for some unknown reason a mother will reject one of her lambs. This is when milk replacer is used. Right now John is bottle-feeding one lamb 3 times a day! It has become quite tame which the grandkids are excited about!!
As you can see in the above picture after giving birth each lamb is numbered along with the same number of the Mother sheep ( ewe). This helps to keep track of not only the growth of the lamb but the shape of the ewe. They receive extra grain shortly after they lamb and this helps build their strength back up. Once they have become familiar with each other they are both turned out to the pasture field.
Lambing Season 2021
We have had most of the lambs born but it seems each year there are a few mothers that wait as long as possible to deliver their lambs! As of today 4/11/21, the lamb count is at 29. There are still 7 mothers in the barn that should (?) deliver their lambs in the next week.
So as you can see there is a lot to lambing season! But once the lambs are born and turned out with their mothers the work definitely slows down.
I’ll include the website Blackridgecroft link HERE we started to advertise breeding stock in case anyone is interested in reading about this breed.
Which leads me to an email John received just last week. He was contactd by Busch Gardens of Williamsburg to inquire about buying a few lambs for the flock they have! I’ll let all of you know if they decide to buy lambs from us! I had no idea that they even had animals there! I’ll inlcude a link to Busch Gardens of Williamsburg, it certainly looks like a fun place to take the family!