Saturday 25 January, 2014
Looked out the 2013 diary this morning, noted down the dates each ewe was marked at tupping time and put the expected dates in the diary. I know they don't always go by the chart but I've found Ryelands pretty close to 147days with singles and 149days with twins. Triplets are a whole new ball game :-)
We're due to start 30th March and finish 17th April, which isn't too bad. Of course, the ewe expecting triplets is due a full week before the first ewe expecting a single - which is Niamh, as I hoped. Hopefully, this will mean that the triplet will be able to compete with its foster sibling when we twin it on. I suppose the challenge will be convincing Niamh that a week old lamb is newborn.
Gillian advised us to do the following: when we see Niamh strt to lamb, get the triplet away from its mammy, dunk it in warm water, lamb Niamh and make sure as much of the birth fluids go on the triplet as possible. Give the triplet to Niamh first; once she's licked it for a bit, give her her own lamb.
I've also read that tying the triplet's legs together so that it doesn't get up right away - making it more like a newborn - is also useful. I also read that you should check that the adoptive mum has two working quarters before twinning on - seems obvious, but in the high excitement, it would be perfectly possible to overlook this.
Another thing worth noting (some of you may be saying "Thats' obvious" but some may not) from yesterday - we were planning to fluke the ewes and ewe lambs before Gillian came, since we had them in anyway. However, the drenching gun was gunged up, and with the cattle foot trimmer coming as well, we didn't do them before scanning. When I mentioned this to Gillian, she said, "Mind don't fluke the barren one or you'll need to wait eight weeks (the withdrawal period for Fasinex) before you can get her away."
If Gillian hadn't mentioned it, I wouldn't have given it a thought but I'll remember in future and luck was on our side this year.
Wish I thought of it before I fluked the tup in January. So he and Nellie have a reprieve until early March. All I need to do now is find someone who wants some mutton :-)