Nearing Their Time

Picture 2428We bred fewer ewes this last fall and we also bred later than usual. Often our lambs arrive between mid-February and mid-March. I was late putting the ram, Hero, out with the gals because I was off traipsing around Ireland much earlier than usual. It was, however, the very first thing I did when I arrived home…. our ram, of course, being very anxious to spend time with his ladies! Any day now we expect lambs to start arriving. We’ve finished the lambing pens we construct each year so that the ewe’s have a ‘private’ area to birth in. As you can see from the back end of one of those rather plump sheep, they are close to ready. At this time of year I spend a lot of time with the ewes in the flock, checking their udders to see if they have begun to ‘bag up’ …. or to become full looking. From the back of the sheep in the picture, you can see that this is happening and also that the ewe’s vulva has become swollen and brighter pink. A sure sign that she is getting close! A day or so before they give birth, the lambs will ‘drop’ into the birth canal, you may be able to detect this happening by noticing a concave area between the ewe’s hips and her last rib. There will be a ‘dip’ or ‘hollow’ in this area of the sheep’s back as the lambs drop into position. The lambs that are bred this year are all seasoned mothers and I don’t expect that I’ll need to intervene at all. I let them have their babies, only assisting in the actual birth if there is an evident problem. Afterwards, I do go out to help dry them off and to be sure the lambs are standing and suckling. Our ewes are quite friendly and are comfortable with us working around them. I think they would be very happy to crawl into my lap for their rubs and back scratches. Picture 2429

14 comments on “Nearing Their Time

  1. You are so blessed. Having an animal trust you so much during their birthing time is truly a gift. They are lucky to have you. Enjoy.

    • Thank you, Trudy. Our sheep are a friendly bunch and very use to human interaction. They seem to appreciate my presence at this time….I suppose they sense that I am a pair of helping hands in a time of need.

    • Hello Styra, Right now, though the sun is shining and it is a gloriously warm morning, we are in the midst of mud season and that brown landscape that can be hard not to become impatient with. But yes, the lambs will arrive and begin their romping and frolicking and all will suddenly be completely joyous!

  2. They look like an affectionate crew. I’d say that ewe on the left is looking forward to lambing as much as you are. She looks ready to pop! Looking forward to some lamby photos.

    • We consider ourselves to have a rather small flock, right now we carry 20 ewes through the winter. Still, we are in the fields or barns with them on a regular basis and they have become quite pampered…as you can see! I love that they are so friendly and enjoy their rubs and scratches…..I’ll post photos when lambs start arriving!

  3. How wonderful to share in the birth. I regret not having the experience with our goats as they are not penned in when giving birthing. We have had six kids thus far, all that are expected. Would have been seven but one did not make it unfortunately. I hope all your young ones are doing well. Xx

    • Thanks, Melissa…we help only when needed. last year we had one ewe that had a difficult time, but we will never breed her again. Most often they lamb unassisted. New lambs, new baby goats…gotta love it!

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