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new to sheep

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by ranchwithaview, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Jul 11, 2019 at 11:52 AM
    Sheepshape

    Sheepshape Herd Master

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    I have seasonal breeders, so the advice is a little different for seasonal breeders and sheep that breed all year round. My sheep start to come into heat between mid-August and early-October.....responding to shortening day length. As I like my sheep to lamb from mid-March onwards, I count back 147 day (average gestation ) which would take me to October 15th or thereabouts. The ewes who are being put to the tup for the first time (sheepfolk talk for putting a ram in with ewes) will have been born between March and May of the previous year, so are 17-18 months old. An occasional very large ewe lamb from the current year, so about 6 months old, will also 'go to the tup'. These young lambs need to be at least 80% of their expected adult weight or they may suffer with growth stunting.

    In non-seasonal breeders about a year should be fine....and again when they are at least 80% of the expected adult weight (Most will be well over the 80% at a year).

    Over here ewes aged 1bout 18months which are going to the tup for the first time are called shearlings (sheared once), hoggets/hogs (sheep between 1 and 2 years old) or gimmers (a ewe which has been sheared once). All these terms get used at sheep sales locally, but they pretty much refer to the same thing.

    Ewe lambs are often fertile well before they are old enough not to suffer as a consequence of pregnancy, and ram lambs can be fertile from not much more than 3 MONTHS old.
     
  2. Jul 11, 2019 at 7:09 PM
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Herd Master

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    Might want to back off being too friendly with the ram....pet the ewe all you want and make her a pet if you like, but I'd not try to make a pet of your ram. They can be dangerous if coddled too much while young.

    I had the same idea, but got some good advice from a veteran shepherdess and then followed that up with some research...

    http://livestocktrail.illinois.edu/sheepnet/paperDisplay.cfm?ContentID=6434

    https://www.jacobsheepconservancy.c...am-Lambs-Grow-Up-to-Be-Pets-A-Cautionary-Tale

    http://lavenderfleece.com/rambehavior.html

    https://iamcountryside.com/sheep/are-rams-dangerous-not-with-proper-management/

    https://www.homesteadingtoday.com/threads/training-a-ram-to-not-ram.246390/
     
    AmberLops likes this.
  3. Jul 11, 2019 at 7:44 PM
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Your ram lamb is able to breed now. You really need to separate them. I have hair sheep, they breed all year around. The youngest I would breed my sheep is 8 to 9 months old. Wool/dairy sheep are a little different.

    @mystang89 has dairy sheep, maybe he will chime in.
     
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  4. Jul 11, 2019 at 10:19 PM
    mystang89

    mystang89 True BYH Addict

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    Welcome to the forums! I just read through this and everything said is spot on.

    Please please please don't get too friendly with the ram. He's cute but that cuteness ends when your face down in the dirt because he just rammed you. The way we do it here is taking kindly to the Rams, giving them treats, move them to the pasture, leave them alone and bring them back in at night. We've gone through our war with a ram.

    As they've said, 80% body weight and you can breed them. Just make sure they are healthy. Lacaune are seasonal breeders so they normally don't start their cycle until August ish or so but I wouldn't be surprised if the occasional ewe was a bit early. I've never had this problem as mine Rams and ewes have always been separated. Normally I'll wait until about 3mo to wean the Rams off the dames. I currently have 3 ram lambs who are getting up to that 3 month marker and they'll find their own stall. More milk for me!

    When I first started it with sheep I purchased them as lambs. The 2 ewes were 4 months and the ram was 2 months. By the time mating season came around here was about 8 or 9 months old. Performed great! I never got to see the deed but I did see the results so don't worry if you never see it or you always see the ewes running off.
    If you plan on milking I wish you luck. I would wean the lambs at 2 to 3 weeks at night and milk both in the morning and night. Any questions and I'll try to help the best I can.
     
    Mike CHS, Baymule and AmberLops like this.