Weeks away from lambing? Maybe not!

BSue

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So I am trying to think ahead a little bit and doing a lot of reading. I didn't want to make a new thread about weaning and breeding since I'm dealing with the same sheep family. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I see that the general consensus for weaning is 60 days or a lamb that is 45 lbs. Then the lamb and ewe need to be separated to allow the ewe's udder to dry up. What I would like to know is the following, does the udder have to be completely dry for the ewe to breed? Can the ewe be placed with the ram Day 1 of weaning from the lamb?
 

Baymule

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Ok, if you have ram lambs, they should be weaned at 2 months old. They can start breeding at a very young age. If they are castrated, you don't have that worry.

As far as breeding back, that sounds a little quick. The ewe needs time to recover from birthing and raising lambs. She should have time to get back in good condition. Many people wean at 3-4 months old. Some people only breed once a year, some breeds are seasonal and will only breed once a year. Hair breeds will breed any time of year.

Let the ewe dry up and get back in condition before breeding again. That will depend on if she gets run down from raising lambs or is still in good condition after weaning. I have a ewe that puts everything in her udder. I give her extra feed or she would get thin.
 

Sheepshape

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I only wean off the ram lambs (to stop them mating with the females). Ewe lambs I leave with their mothers.....the lambs wean naturally by about 6 months, many before.
I have wool sheep which are seasonal breeders and come into season in August/September usually. I breed them once a year.
A ewe can come into season and be impregnated when she is still lactating.
I don't take my ewe lambs off their mums as a) the lambs grow quicker with continued access to milk and b) my ewes tend to get a bit too fat, so prolonged lactation helps to keep their weight down. My situation is different to many who find their ewes have lost a lot of condition through lactation.
Last year only one of my mature ewes failed to conceive (of 50 something) and she was a grade 5 body type. She's even rounder this year and has a serious roll of fat at the base of her tail, so it may the she'll fail to get pregnant again.
When lactation has finished it is important to feel the udder to ensure that there are no lumps or bumps which could be indicative of mastitis. These ewes are unlikely to have proper milk production in subsequent years.
I don't have any definite explanation as to why my ewes run fat. (except for the fact they get lots of treats, are contented and lazy!).We are at 1.000ft, the topsoil is thin and fields sloping, and we don't use much fertiliser. I do live in Wales, though.....known in Britain to be 'sheep country' and to have a high rainfall.
All ewes that go to the tup should be in good body condition and otherwise fit. A thin ewe may run into 'twin lamb disease' with loss of the ewe and her lambs or lactation fail if she has not sufficient reserves.
 
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