Oh dear... ewes being prep'd for slaughter might be pregnant

shepherdO

Loving the herd life
Joined
Sep 18, 2018
Messages
127
Reaction score
129
Points
106
Location
Okanagan area of British Columbia
Oh dear. We'd earmarked two older ewes for slaughter at the end of October and I've had one separated for fattening up over the next couple months. I just added the other to the same pen today, with, (yes, I know you're going to think/say I'm an idiot) my lovely, newly purchased texel ram lamb. He's not quite 5 months old, and I guess I was banking on the likelihood that he had a bit of maturing to do, and also that the ewes wouldn't be cycling yet in late August.

Well, today as I was heading out I noticed some white residue on the vulva of one of the ewes... I was in a bit of a dilemma, but I thought that as this point, if she'd already been bred, I might as well apply some raddle marker to the ram this evening to at least have some clear evidence of breeding. As I was doing this and explaining to my son why we were doing this, he mentioned that he'd seem some white residue on the OTHER ewe that I just put in this morning.

Arrgghh... yes, yes, yes, I know that rams can breed early and I know I was being incredibly risky keeping them all together. Anyhoo, I'll hopefully find out tomorrow whether or not the ewes are being bred (via raddle stains).

My question now is: should I keep them and try to get some lambs out of them, or should I continue with the slaughter plans? They're already booked in for Oct. 29. Things I'm weighing:

CONS re: LAMBING THEM OUT
* this would mean a mi-January birth, the coldest time of the year in BC. Lots of cold, and -20C or colder weather
* both moms are old, and they had dismal experiences last year - 25% lambing success rate between them. I'd have to really manage their feed wisely so as not to get huge lambs this year
* at least one of them is showing her age (6-7 i believe)
* I wouldn't have as much freezer meat :)
* I didn't really get a chance to flush them, which would be good as twins would mean smaller lambs.

PROS re: LAMBING THEM OUT
* They'd maybe/(hopefully?) handle labour a bit better the second time, being already 'stretched out' a bit
* I don't like the idea of sending them for slaughter when they'd be 2 months pregnant - almost halfway...
* I'd hopefully get some lambs out of them. They're great looking suffolk/rambouillets, and the labs that they had (3 didn't make it through labour) were stunning - I mean, absolutely stunning.

What d'yall think? Has anyone purposely sent pregnant ewes to slaughter?

Thanks for your thoughts. Man, it's been a tough weekend. More on that in another thread...
 

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
18,325
Reaction score
44,740
Points
793
Location
Northeast Texas
2 months along.….I don't think I could. We can all weigh in with our thoughts and opinions, but the ultimate decision is yours. The fact that you are struggling with it shows me that you are uncomfortable with it.

Don't beat yourself on putting the ram with them, we all have a few "oops" hanging around. You may make mistakes, but I bet you don't make this one again.
 

frustratedearthmother

Herd Master
Joined
May 7, 2013
Messages
7,097
Reaction score
11,718
Points
573
If it were me....I'd give them a chance. But, I'm just that way - I would be worried that "the best lamb EVER" was just waiting inside to get a chance.

But, a smaller feed bill and meat in the freezer is a good option too. See - I'm no help at all!
 

Mini Horses

Herd Master
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
3,236
Reaction score
8,451
Points
438
Location
S coastal VA
First -- I would confirm IF they were pregnant, not just being bred. I'd move the ram lamb until then.

If pregnant you would definitely need to BE THERE TO ASSIST...otherwise, why even let them carry? If pregnant and you don't feel you can be there at lambing, abort now.

Just my own thoughts on being a caregiver & farm management.
Yeah, I'm pretty direct but, sometimes we need this. :)
 

Roving Jacobs

Seeing Spots
Joined
Jul 27, 2012
Messages
521
Reaction score
766
Points
213
Location
NE OH
Personally I'd remove the ram, give them a dose of lutelyse in 10 days and send them to slaughter as planned. Lambing out ewes with a history of complications in January doesn't sound like something I'd want any part of. Even if they have beautiful daughters are they going to be hard to lamb too? You chose to cull these ewes for a reason, they could be feeding your family this winter instead of being a drain on your resources.
 

Goat Whisperer

Herd Master
Joined
Dec 19, 2013
Messages
4,832
Reaction score
6,540
Points
453
Location
North Carolina
Personally I'd remove the ram, give them a dose of lutelyse in 10 days and send them to slaughter as planned. Lambing out ewes with a history of complications in January doesn't sound like something I'd want any part of. Even if they have beautiful daughters are they going to be hard to lamb too? You chose to cull these ewes for a reason, they could be feeding your family this winter instead of being a drain on your resources.
I’m not a sheep person but that was my thinking as well…
 
Top