Lambing in Inclement Weather

TurtleCrossingRanch

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We got our flock of Barbados Blackbellies of 6 in early August and our girls must have already been pregnant, because I found a nice pair of surprises when I went out to them today: one of my ewes had twins! The gentleman we got them from said the two ewes were likely pregnant when we got them, but we expected lambs much earlier in the year because of how large the girls were. After a while of them not lambing, we just assumed they were fat and happy sheep.

Momma has bonded to both babies exceptionally well. There is just one problem:
The next 3 days are supposed to be the worst of the winter weather for our area- rain, wind, and possible snow until Tuesday. Temps are supposed to hover around 30s to 40s.

This particular ewe refuses to utilize the shed/barn that has dry bedding. She actually can't and won't stand anything to do with humans. We tried making little jackets to try to keep the twins dry, but she won't have anything to do with the lambs while they are wearing them. So far, I have been going out every couple hours and rubbing them up with towels to dry them.

This is my first flock and my first lambing, so I am unsure of what to do.
The only way to really protect them is to take them into the garage, but the ewe would never follow me and I am afraid that would break her bond with them. I don't want to stress the ewe or the lambs any more than I have to. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! I may just be panicking, but I really want to give these two the best chance.
 

Sheepshape

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Welcome to the forum....and congratulations on your new arrivals.

This one should be fairly easy to solve. Catch the lambs....will be easier with 2 people or more if they are quick movers! They are likely to bleat......and ewes who are bonded to their lambs will almost always follow as you take them into a shelter.

A lot of my lambs are born outdoors and it rains/snows/we have gales seemingly every day. I pick up the newborns and walk slowly with them to the shed. The technique is 'low and slow'.......hold the lambs low down to the ground and walk very slowly......mum may come over to sniff them en route. Ewes recognise their lambs firstly by smell, secondly by the bleat, and a little by sight.......so don't worry if the lambs holler.....mum will be stirred to follow them by the sound.

Sounds too good to be true, but really does work for the vast majority of ewes and lambs.

Good Luck.
 

TurtleCrossingRanch

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Thank you! They were a most unexpected addition to my day! I haven't been down to the flock much lately because of a recent foot surgery that made it next to impossible to walk. Today was my first real visit to them in over a month.

It took a couple tries to get all three in their little shed, but now the three of them are in the shed on some dry bedding. The rest of the flock got booted from the shed so there should be no danger of being stepped upon or squashed.

My first lambs and OF COURSE they come during the coldest and worst weather days of the year!

Also, how can something so tiny be so ridiculously loud and so incredibly soft??? I am already in love!
 

Sheepshape

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It took a couple tries to get all three in their little shed, but now the three of them are in the shed on some dry bedding
Well done you! Time to get your camera out.

Make sure mum has plenty of food and water......forage and some ewe nuts or other supplement.
 

Baymule

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Some of mine were wild and crazy, but patience and the secret weapon, FEED calmed them down over time. I also found that having lambs helped calm them down. Your breed is known as being on the wild independent side, but they also can be tamed. Spend time with them, just being quiet and bringing treats. Glad you got ewe and lambs in shelter. Oh, I have a couple of milk crates in the Sheep lot that I sit on. I have the grand kids sit on them also, the ewes will go sniff them all over and then relax. Have you a sit down place where they can sniff your face. It tickles. LOL
 

TurtleCrossingRanch

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The ewe and lambs are doing well. They are closed in the shed/barn we have for the herd by themselves so nobody gets stepped on. The rest of the herd is out under a the stands of trees on the property and are none too pleased that they are not allowed in the sheep shed. The storm is starting to pick up again, temps should stay in the mid 40s so I am not too worried about the established adult sheep. They have enough to forage for to keep their body temps up. Also they are fat sheep.

Our GSD found out the hard way that mama sheep should not be messed with. While I was putting the lambs in the shed last night the ewe of course is upset and nervous. I had let the GSD and ASD out to potty last night while I was doing this knowing they know what the electric fence is and to not go through it. While I am carrying the twins, unbeknownst to me, the GSD found a spot in the fence he could fit through (it's a strand fence within a 6' no climb around the property, mostly to keep the sheep off the driveway), and decided he needed to investigate "The Case of the Mysterious Bleating". I tell the dog to get out, but he is too focused on the lambs in my hands. I've just managed to catch them, and I don't want to put them down to get the dog out. So here I am, trying to balance 2 lambs, walking downhill in the rain, after having foot surgery a month ago, and the ewe is raging mad at the dog. She got him real good one time, he rolled several times down the hill into the back of my legs, I start slipping, and with 2 lambs tucked against my chest I am afraid to go over. Catch myself on the bad foot, ewe is looking mighty proud of herself. Dog finally gets the hint and scurries off to find a way out of the fence and gets a zap on the way back through. The ASD wisely went potty and put himself back in the house (he can open doors). And of course, this all happened at midnight, in the rain, and dark!

I LOVE HAVING SHEEPS!Between the sheep and chickens, there is never a dull moment!
 

Latestarter

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Greetings and welcome to BYH from NE TX! So glad you joined us. Sounds like you're really having one heck of a time there! IMHO, after the lambs are a week or two old, there's really no need to keep them sequestered any longer. They'll be able to run and jump and get out of the big girl's way quite easily. They'll actually get much better exercise and promote better exercise for the big girls as well by running at them, bouncing off them and getting the roly poly adults to try and chase them away. :weee It's really a lot of fun to watch the antics. There's a wealth of info, knowledge and experience shared in the multitude of threads. Browse around and see what interesting stuff you can find. You'll get to "meet" folks at the same time. By all means post away when the desire strikes you, especially if you have questions (provide as much detail/info as possible and pictures truly help)... With all the great folks here, generally someone will respond in no time at all. Oh, and we all love pics, so post them anytime you feel the need! Please make yourself at home! Hope you enjoy the site! Oh... did I mention pics? ;) Please and thanks! We all love pics, especially of babies!
 

Sheepshape

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So....you've discovered the joy of sheep. You've also seen how momma ewe is not to be messed with where her babies are concerned....comes as a surprise to folk who think that ewes are scared by their own shadows.

Personally I'd leave momma and babies indoors until the storm has passed and then turn allow them out to come and go as they wish. After a week or two and provided that you don't get that the legal combination of wet/low temperatures/wind, they will cope just fine.

Good Luck.
 

TurtleCrossingRanch

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I've been trying to upload them! We have satellite internet, so uploading is terrible, especially when we have a dense storm cloud system roll in. I'll keep trying.

They are doing great! They are still closed in the shed/barn as this storm has just gotten colder and colder (not nearly as bad as the east coast, but cold for CA). The ewe still does not trust me and panics when I go into check body temps. The lambs are a little more trusting, if only for the fact that my boots and pants smell like them. I'm trying to get these 2 to be much more easy to handle than the rest of the flock so I am handling them for 10 minutes or so a day.
 

TurtleCrossingRanch

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So....you've discovered the joy of sheep. You've also seen how momma ewe is not to be messed with where her babies are concerned....comes as a surprise to folk who think that ewes are scared by their own shadows.

Personally I'd leave momma and babies indoors until the storm has passed and then turn allow them out to come and go as they wish. After a week or two and provided that you don't get that the legal combination of wet/low temperatures/wind, they will cope just fine.

Good Luck.
That is what I am trying to avoid, it has been sustained winds, freezing rain/sleet/snow, and temps below freezing at night
 
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