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Author Topic: Breeding ewe lambs  (Read 5742 times)

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Breeding ewe lambs
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2012, 10:39:01 am »
I find where this happens its a "first time mother" thing and is not nescessarily due to the animals age. If the animal is compromised in some way, it can lead to abandoning lambs. I have heard maternal behaviours are learned and if the lamb was abandoned itself, then it is less likley to have picked up the mothering behaviours. For this reason I get rid of anyone who failed to lamb/get the lambs to suck herself and I usually have very few problems.
Voss Electric Fence

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Breeding ewe lambs
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2012, 12:32:58 pm »
Emotionally I have always wanted to believe the learned behaviour theory, but I have kept on so many pets and abandoned ewe lambs and seen them become cracking mothers themselves, I can't say that my experience backs that theory.

What I do think is that any ewe placed in what feels to her like a very unnatural situation is quite likely to react by leaving the lambs and trying to save herself. 

So the very penning and handling that we do with the first time mums of itself can create the conditions for her to not manage her first mothering well!

But unless the ewes are very fit, and the weather is superb, I wouldn't want to risk leaving first timers alone outside to do it, either, even though I do believe that to be best for them.  ???

I think any mammal is entitled to find the nibbling questing mouth around the udder very strange and not entirely nice at first.   :o  Very often with first timers, it's just a bit of constraint and support while lambie gets its first bellyful that's required.

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Canadian Sheepfarmer

  • Joined Nov 2009
  • Manitoba, Canada.
Re: Breeding ewe lambs
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2012, 02:53:43 pm »
I have a friend who makes skirt - like pieces of stout material that she ties firmly over the rear end of ewes that she doesn't want to be bred. They just hang there, normal bathroom functions proceed as per normal, but it stops a ram from doing the business.
Seems to work?!

jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Breeding ewe lambs
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2012, 03:09:57 pm »
 :D chastity belts for sheep  :D

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Breeding ewe lambs
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2012, 10:02:41 pm »
:D chastity belts for sheep  :D

Apparently, our hill sheep have one built-in - but we don't use the natural way any more...

I was told recently that a Swaledale ewe can live for a fortnight on the fat in her tail - which is a second good reason for not tail-docking in this breed.

I just repeated that on another forum and was told that in the Middle East they regard the sheep's tail fat as the natural contraceptive - in the summer she has fat there, and the ram cannot gain access.  As the feeding palls, she loses the fat, and eventually her tail is thin enough for the ram to get his way!
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Breeding ewe lambs
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2012, 10:24:52 pm »
Emotionally I have always wanted to believe the learned behaviour theory, but I have kept on so many pets and abandoned ewe lambs and seen them become cracking mothers themselves, I can't say that my experience backs that theory.


Of course they can become good mothers - biological theories aren't usually as straightforward as that. The most you could say is that not having learned that behaviour, they are less likely to become good mothers, and as I lamb outside - I cant take chances on less likely. I'm sure there is a whole lot of instinct and hormonal control at play here too. I tend to lamb them in small paddocks with a few hurdle pens dotted around so I can catch them up easily if need be.


There are lots of other reasons I wouldn't breed from an orphan/assisted birth besides that, not least being that you never really know how they would have done on the ewe.


SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Breeding ewe lambs
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2012, 10:28:45 pm »
:D chastity belts for sheep  :D

Apparently, our hill sheep have one built-in - but we don't use the natural way any more...

I was told recently that a Swaledale ewe can live for a fortnight on the fat in her tail - which is a second good reason for not tail-docking in this breed.

I just repeated that on another forum and was told that in the Middle East they regard the sheep's tail fat as the natural contraceptive - in the summer she has fat there, and the ram cannot gain access.  As the feeding palls, she loses the fat, and eventually her tail is thin enough for the ram to get his way!


Now thats interesting, especially as I dont dock either...

plt102

  • Joined Jan 2011
Re: Breeding ewe lambs
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2012, 03:07:13 pm »
We don't have a choice whether to breed from our ewe lambs this year as a few weeks ago, our ram broke through the fence to the girls before we had separated everyone. So we will just have to look after them well and make sure we are ready to assist the youngsters if needed. Hopefully, if they aren't ready they won't have been covered. The lambs are hid daughters so any of their lambs will go straight to the freezer when they are big enough. We were hoping to get a new ram for them next year so no inbreeding. Bigger fence needed next year.

 

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