WOO! HOO! First Lambs of the Season! A Ram and a Ewe Lamb…TWINS!

Legamin

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I know it is the same thing every year…year in year out…l know that sheep do what sheep are gonna do….BUT IT’S THE FIRST ONES OF THE SEASON! WOO! HOO! Boy! CDT, colostrum feedings, lambing jug, paint mark the family mark….so much to do..oh! Can’t forget to trim the umbilicus and douse in Betadyne! Tomorrow if they are doing well the castration and tail docking…maybe wait to the third day just before letting them out of the jug…..I’m always a first time Papa! Nervous Nelly and quivering with excitement. My wife giggles at this silly 60 year old skinny farmer running around like a head with his chicken cut off but it always seems there is so much to do at once that even when I’m ready it’s a rush!
I ALMOST FORGOT!!!!! NAMES!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Any suggestions? This is the meat flock and not the purebred pen so they don’t have to be regal names…just family names! The bulk of these lambs are presold as meat flock breeders but since I introduced the parents and helped with the weddings and honeymoons…..I should get to name them, right?! My children and grandchildren get the first three ewes so THEY get naming rights for them….a grandpa’s duty to teach wise naming skills and all….
Okay…got all my sillies out…my excitement in turning to tiredness and the doubling of chores…but I had to announce the beginning of our lambing season!

Meet the fam. Marigold, a Leicester Longwool (father: Maelstrom (who lives up to his name) a Blue Faced Leicester. The little girl looks JUST like Dad! (Don’t mind the barn that will get painted this year!) here they have been cajoled into the lambing jug so that bonding and feeding rituals can be established! Momma looks like there could be three more lambs hiding out in her but she is just ‘healthy’ and ready to nurse. She successfully pushed out the placenta and is done lambing!
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here is where they were born…out in the yard behind the barn.
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SA Farm

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I don’t think it matters how long you’ve been doing it - the first ones are always so exciting!
Especially when everything goes well! Good mama!:celebrate
 

Legamin

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Awesome! Cutie black lamb! I love lambing, never get tired of it. It is exciting, fun and lambs are so precious! Congratulations on a great start to lambing season!
Have an unusual issue with the little black ewe lamb. She was the first up and eager to feed and was doing okay and then slowed and needed supplement. Now at the 4 hour mark the mamma ewe is pushing her away…this is after she was nursing and doing great!? My concern is that momma will get more aggressive than simple shoving and harm the new ewe. I’m struggling with whether to leave her in overnight and weigh her to see if she starts feeding on her own or just being safe and pulling her out of the jug and bottle feeding her. I am fully against bottle feeding for ‘selfish’ reasons…wanting a tame lamb etc. But I am not eager to lose a lamb since I have pre-sold EVERY expected lamb and if I lose one for any reason I have to tell someone they are not getting their lamb! This was supposed to be a herd building year but the demand has been VERY high! And I see supply chain and food shortages coming this year with the fertilizer shortage being so severe so I am hesitant to put my herd building ahead of people’s food needs.
Anyways, if you have any insights I would love to hear them. I have never had a lamb START feeding and then later get rejected by mama! This is a new one on me…but I’m kinda new at this so experience is needed.
 

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How is your selenium level? Weak lambs can be due to selenium loss.

Check the ewe's bag and teats. If she is sore or has a plugged teat she may not want the lamb sucking. Especially if the lamb is vigorous and butts the udder like they do to get the milk to let down.

If you bottle feed, leave her in the jug or fix up a creep so she can escape from the ewe if the ewe gets to butting her. Is this a first timer?
 

Legamin

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What about bottle feeding her and leaving her with the ewe? Maybe try it overnight.
I should have typed ‘24 hour mark’ rather than ‘4 hour..’. I left her in for one full day but had to keep increasing the supplement. Mama got more insistent on keeping her away from feeding so this evening at 32 hours I finally was concerned that she could get accidentally stepped on or lay down on. Mom is almost 280lbs and a bit clumsy. The male lamb is doing great. Just checked on him and he is still feeding even in the dark and mama is standing and letting him do that. We did decide to bring the ewe in. Not my first choice and she is crying for milk now…so it’s off to feed and then to bed for a few hours. I’m hoping that another lamb is born tonight so i can try covering this ewe in the other birthing fluids and try to sneak her in on the new mama…maybe she just thinks “hmmm! Big lamb!” Maybe not…worth a try if another lamb gives me the opportunity quickly. Otherwise it’s a couple of long weeks!
 

Legamin

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How is your selenium level? Weak lambs can be due to selenium loss.

Check the ewe's bag and teats. If she is sore or has a plugged teat she may not want the lamb sucking. Especially if the lamb is vigorous and butts the udder like they do to get the milk to let down.

If you bottle feed, leave her in the jug or fix up a creep so she can escape from the ewe if the ewe gets to butting her. Is this a first timer?
Nope, this ewe is in her fifth season. I felt the udder and it seems pliable. I moved the lamb back out with her and watched for a while. The ewe tends carefully to the little ram and gently nudges the ewe lamb away. Nothing sinister, just not interested even though she ‘comparison sniffs’ and seems satisfied that it is her lamb and allows it to be with the ram lamb. I’m taking bottles out to her and letting her stand and feed in the jug. I will probably get the lamb gate set up so that she can get away if it gets rough. I have another several lambs coming so she might just get company in a pen all by their lonesomes…I would rather the lamb continue to feed near and bond with mom so that it is not alone in the pasture. We are finishing out strengthening our fences this year in an extensive project but I still don’t want little lambs on their own as we have an exceptionally heavy coyote presence. On an average evening there will be several hundred coming down into our little valley and pacing off outside the fences. We have barbed wire, electric barriers, metal welded panels, security lights with motion sensors, alarms and cameras but there is no defense as successful as a flock.
 

Legamin

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So an UPDATE to the UPDATE: The Ram Lamb is doing great. Mamma is perfectly happy to let him get all the milk. I checked the teats and the Ewe, Marigold, and both sides are soft and pliable…no reason not to nurse except she is just taking exception to her daughter. She tolerates her just fine but if the ewe lamb investigates MOM’S food or tries to nurse, Mom nudges her away. The ewe lamb is clearly unhappy about the rejection but….no pity….mom’s just indifferent. She is staying with mom for now and will be hanging out in the pen next to the lambing jug so she doesn’t get lonely. I’m still a bit concerned that if she gets out with the rest there might be aggression when she is not right by her mamma….and she is the adventurous one! When I found her she had been born within the previous morning hours had gotten up and made her way through the near solid fence into the Ram pen! There she tried to nurse on her father…who was having none of it! It is this short absence from mom that I am thinking she took on foreign lamb scent and began the journey to rejection. I try to keep a constant eye out but it’s just the two of us and lot’s of work! For Next year I am thinking a closed circuit monitor in the barn and yard and a sound activated signal to my phone. I’ve been told this is doable by the techs at the computer store so I’ll add that to the project list! No WiFi has it’s disadvantages!
Anyway, mom and lambs are fine. They started at a shred over 7lbs ewe lamb, 8lbs ram lamb and are already 11.2/12.7 respectively so no one is going hungry! 62 hours old and gained 1/2 of their body weight! (better them than me!).
Unless anything untoward happens I will probably leave the story here. But if anyone wants an update or has questions/comments I will check back and respond.
Thanks all!
 

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