Introducing ram to his lamb and back with ewes

jambi1214

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Great info. Thanks! We kinda were going with whenever but planning especially as we get more may be wiser.
 

jambi1214

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I wean ram lambs at 2 months. Little devils are humping everything in sight. LOL
How do you really go about weaning? I can see the week old lamb already trying to eat on pasture, knowing it's likely nothing and she still needs to nurse of course. But to some degree do they not naturally start to wean and eats what they live on?
 

farmerjan

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To wean you take them away from the ewes and keep in a SECURE pen or field. They should be eating good and if possible they should be getting creep fed for several weeks before weaning so they do not lose weight and "go backwards" when taken off the ewes. They are going to holler and the ewes are going to holler for a few days. If they are close to each other they will holler back and forth more. But you need to make sure they are eating good when you wean them. The ewe will get tired of them nursing and may kick at them as they get bigger some, but they will take a milk meal whenever they can.
Get a good all around book on raising sheep and read up on the different methods of raising them, weaning them, breeding, and feed for them. Unless you have exceptional pasture, there will be times that they will need additional feed in the form of grain and/or good quality hay. And rotational grazing is an art that can be learned but you will make mistakes as you go and they need to have a continual level of nutrition to grow and gain weight.
They will start to mimic their mommas hence the nibbling on grass etc... that is how they learn to be "sheep" and graze and what is good to eat; plus it will supplement the ewe's milk as they get older.
 

Baymule

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What farmerjan said.

This year I built a creep feeder for the lambs. I have been missing the boat! It sure made a difference in the growth of the lambs. No way they can fight for a bite from the ewes, little lambs need their own space. Plus I sat at the entrance, on an upturned milk crate, as the lambs went in and came back out. This made me not the big scary monster and they have been the friendliest bunch of lambs I've ever raised.

I usually put the lambs in a pen or pasture next to the ewes. They can be next to each other until the ewes lose interest. Right now, I have ewes in the barn, ewe lambs on one pasture that links to the barn and ram lambs and the ram in a pasture that backs up to the barn.
 

farmerjan

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Having weaned lambs in the pasture next to the ewes is called fencline weaning. Some do that with the calves off cows. If the fences are good, it works. Some like it and it does also depend on how old the lambs are when weaning takes place. Some places and times it is not practical.
 

Shepherdess219

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My ram lives with my ewes from breeding, all winter. Then about 5-7 days before birthing he gets the boot with my buck and they stay separated until breeding season. It was really hard on him until I got my buck. If I wasn’t breeding goats I would have got him a friend, if you get a small Nigerian dwarf goat wether, they don’t eat much, they’re friendly, and make a great buddy. I wean my ram lambs at 90 days and they go to live with dad and everyone gets along great. I always leave mom with at least one lamb until market time. By then they have mostly naturally weaned and when I pull them off I don’t have any mastitis issues. Moms get a break for almost a month before rebreeding, so I run girl Flock and boy flock and roate them around a clock shaped field system.
 

wolf

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Since ewes were lambing I seperated the ram. He is by himself and was having a hard time initially. He is doing better now and stays close to fence where ewes and lamb are. But how long do I seperated them? How do I reintroduce without fear of him being aggressive with (his)lamb. I know to seperated closer to breeding....or do I keep seperated until I get him so more ewes (and maybe a wether)?View attachment 83917

Also having trouble with our akbash dog. He was with sheep no problem but never with a small lamb. She is 1 week old and I have kept him away but there has to be a time I put him back with the herd..
That's his job. But he is 1y old and a big overly playful agressive not mean at all...
Help the cohabitation!!
Thanks
I got a Johnson Shield on my ram. Made for buck-goats but works on rams as well. Because my sheep are trained to tether, when my two ewes got messy and ready to birth, I pulled him aside and kept him seperate for first 24-hrs somewes could have a break to recover, and bond with their triplets - yes, two ewes, six lambs. After their break, I released him to be with his family. He's good with his offspring, don't know if it was because he was within sight and saw them all born. The Johnson Shield keeps him from rebreeding the ewes - until I'm ready to do the baby-thing all over again. I give my girls one pregancy a year. I pull the Johnson Shield off him in mid-October, and now have lambs when last frost has passed - no freezing winter births.
 

Ridgetop

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I would not worry about the ram around the new lambs. The rams will not usually butt lambs away unless they want to breed the ewes. If you wait a week or so to put the ram back into the pen with the ewe the birth smell (which can approximate the in season smell) will have gone. Depending on the breed you have, the ram will not breed the ewe until breeding season. If you have a breed that only breeds once a year, this will start in early fall or late summer. If you have Dorpers I have found that the ewes will breed back when the lambs are around 3 months old.

But it seems like you have a second question about your young Akbash and his reaction to the newborn lambs.

The appropriate guardian behavior to newborn lambs is to approach them and their mother to about 6'-10' from the lamb. If the mother is upset the dog lays down at the point where the ewe shows nervousness and waits. With experienced mothers with experienced dogs this can be 6' with FFs and young dogs this is usually more unless the dog is exceptionally quiet. I have 3 Anatolians. One is perfect, one is good, while the male was overly excited about newborn lambs. With the first no training at all was needed, Harika was perfect. Angel was introdiuced to newborns as a puppy but needed some training as she got old enough to play with the lambs. (more on that later) By the second lambing season, she was doing well with newborns. Bubba took 2 years to train.:barnie:he :somad

When introducing your dog to the lambs, put him on a leash. This is only temporary and you are on the other end of the leash. Do not tie him to anything. The idea is to see how he reacts to the lambs while being able to control any poor behavior immediately in a quiet manner. Shouting at the dog makes him think that something is wrong. It confuses him, making him think that the ewe might have done something to the lamb. Allow the dog to approach the lamb. If the ewe butts him do not shout at him (or the ewe) since the dog will think you are encouraging him to protect the lamb from her. If the dog gets too aggressive with the lamb or ewe, pull him back to a spot about 6' away and make him sit or lay down calmly while you talk to him. If he will lay down in front of the ewe about 6' away this is excellent behavior. Bring a chair or stool for yourself since this might take half an hour to an hour.

Sometimes the dog will want the lamb so badly that he will try to take it. Males are usually the biggest offenders in trying to steal lambs for themselves. For some reason males have a tremendous love of newborns and if the ewes try to butt the dog away from the lamb they will bite the ewe in an attempt to drive her away from HIS lamb. In young dogs (yours) they also mistake the ewe's desire to protect her lamb against the dog and will try to "rescue" the lamb from the mean aggressive ewe. They need to learn to allow the ewe access to the lamb. This is often in extreme cases (our Bubba was an extreme case).

Next we come to the case of young dogs biting at lambs and sheep. What to do?

First, are the lambing ewes in a secure pen near the house or center of the property? If the dog gets to rambunctious with the lambs, remove him from the lambs. Put him in a pen with other ewes that will not tolerate his games, They will butt him. This is self training at its best since you can leave the dog with his packmates and they will signal their dislike of his sharp teeth. Soon he will not bite them anymore. If you have ewes that are all lambing, put the dog in with the ram. The ram will really teach him not to bite at him.

There are two main times during the life of a guardian dog that this behavior occurs. Young puppies at 4-6 months old in with small lamb love the lambs but will try to play with them, and inflict bite marks on them. This is how they play with other dogs. The sheep to a guardian dog is a pack member. They think they can play with sheep in the same way. Thus you will find bitten ears or bloodied legs occasionally during these 2 episodes. The bitten lamb is usually the dog's favorite lamb. His BFF. The lamb will come in with small bite marks on ears and legs. The lamb will show no fear of the dog. You might mistake the bite marks for predator wounds. They are not. They are the love bites from the young dog playing with his BFF. You can use your older sheep to train the dog. Training the dog by yourself can be difficult since you would have to stay with him at all times, and when seeing him biting at a lamb you will shout. The dog hears these shouts as encouragement. Remove the pup from the lamb pen and into a pen with older sheep. Preferably older grouchy ewes that will not take any nonsense from a puppy.

The second danger time is teenage play. Anytime between 10 months to 14 months the guardian enters his "teenage years". He is large, bumbling, playful, and still a puppy. If there is another guardian willing to play fight with him, this will be when he learns from adult dogs to fight to protect the flock. If no adult dog wants to play with him, he will turn his attention to his wooly buddies. He is not interested in killing them, just in playing but his play is dog play and again you will see bloody ears and legs. Again they will appear first on his BFF. Removing the BFF means that he will work his way through all the rest of his wooly friends. At this age he can inflict damage on the sheep just because of his size. Do not wait immediately remove the teenage dog from those docile sheep or lambs and put him in with some bad tempered older ewes or, my personal preference, RAMS.

Older sheep that don't put up with being nipped by playful puppies will knock the playful nipping behavior out of him. The puppy will learn from the sheep themselves that they don't want to be bitten by their friend. This is much better than you trying to discipline the dog either from a distance or up close since if you are training him, he may only believe that he can't do this while you are near. Far from you with those docile gentle ewes and lambs he can play doggy style. You want him to realize that his packmates won't tolerate being nipped.

And eventually all guardian dogs outgrow this stage. There is hope.
 
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