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Author Topic: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs  (Read 2519 times)

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« on: April 16, 2016, 09:52:33 am »
We're two thirds of the way through lambing. I have five ewes left to lamb - two with singles, two with twins and one with triplets. The one with triplets isn't due until the 2nd May; two of the others are due 19th and the other two 25th (or thereabouts). Since I have no tup currently, the wether is in too and I was planning to keep him in to keep the triplet ewe company once the others have gone out.

Because of space constraints, the ewes expecting twins and singles (and the wether) are housed together. The three triplets were housed in a temporary pen adjoining the main area. Two trips have now lambed and gone out so Pixie is on her own.

Would it be better, or even OK, to put Pixie in with the others? She can see them and touch noses so she's not distressed but if I put her in there, I could get her pen cleaned out. But she's getting a bit more food that the others - if I mix them, that'll drop a bit. They have access to a Harbro Energyze Vitality pre/post lambing bucket as well plus adlib hay.

I don't want to compromise Pixie's health for the sake of convenience, but would welcome views.
Voss Electric Fence

Sbom

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Staffordshire
Re: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2016, 10:05:56 am »
Id mix them, they would be happier together and I can't see the feed amount affecting them at this late stage. You could always stand with her at feed time so she maybe gets a little more...

verdifish

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • banffshire
Re: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2016, 11:19:29 am »
What kind of sheep? 

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2016, 11:27:53 am »
If the ewe with triplets is friendly will she take the extra from your hand/ held bucket / scoop?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2016, 12:11:50 pm »
I'd be inclined to put the two singles on their own with the wether, and feed them less, and put Pixie in with the twins, and feed as for triplets.  Too much cake for singles more dangerous than for twins ;) - although at this stage you probably can't do too much harm. 
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

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2016, 03:48:17 pm »
What kind of sheep?

Coloured Ryelands

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2016, 03:58:16 pm »
Unless you can separate her for extra feed I'd be inclined to keep her away from the others.  The lambs will be growing very fast at 16 days off lambing, and if they're sharing rations she could be down 10 to 20% on optimum intake.  Might work if the lambs have an equal share of placental buttons but if it's two decent-sized lambs plus a scrap the scrap's survival could be compromised.  It's one of the reasons I culled out my strain of Southdown that tended to produce triplets.

clydesdaleclopper

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2016, 04:44:29 pm »
You could just pen her at feeding time. Last year my 2 who needed extra soon learnt to go into pens to get their food.
Our holding has Anglo Nubian and British Toggenburg goats, Gotland sheep, Franconian Geese, Blue Swedish ducks, a whole load of mongrel hens and two semi-feral children.

mowhaugh

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Scottish Borders
    • Facebook
Re: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2016, 09:39:10 pm »
I'd be inclined to put the two singles on their own with the wether, and feed them less, and put Pixie in with the twins, and feed as for triplets.  Too much cake for singles more dangerous than for twins ;) - although at this stage you probably can't do too much harm.

This is what I'd do too.

Daleswoman

  • Joined Jan 2015
Re: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2016, 11:02:07 am »
I don't scan mine so didn't know what each was expecting (except for my own estimates based on their size)  - I know the general view is that you should feed according to what they are carrying, but mine have all mucked in together with no apparent problems so far (just 3 left to go). I wouldn't worry too much - after all everyone managed quite well before scanning was invented, didn't they?

If you are really concerned though I would pen them up for feeding, they soon get used to it.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2016, 11:05:24 am »
I'd be inclined to put the two singles on their own with the wether, and feed them less, and put Pixie in with the twins, and feed as for triplets.  Too much cake for singles more dangerous than for twins ;) - although at this stage you probably can't do too much harm.

This is what I'd do too.

I'll bear this in mind for next year but what I want to do, if possible, is reduce the number of groups not keep the same number  :) Had a twin and a single lambed  yesterday, so only a twin, the triplet and the one that scanned with a single that I thought was  due on the 1st but hasn't lambed yet. And Teddy, so I think I'll stick Pixie in with the others now.  :thumbsup:

mowhaugh

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Scottish Borders
    • Facebook
Re: Mixing ewes expecting different numbers of lambs
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2016, 01:56:53 pm »
. I wouldn't worry too much - after all everyone managed quite well before scanning was invented, didn't they?

If you are really concerned though I would pen them up for feeding, they soon get used to it.

To a certain extend we managed, but I like to think we are trying to better than just managing; pre scanning, ewes with triplets would in general have much smaller lambs which much less chance of survival and almost certainly not have the colostrum for three. Although we don't personally ever send a ewe away with three lambs at foot, as they are going back to the hill, we would now fully expect them to survive and all to stay on mum until we can find a suitable adoptive mum for one of them.

 

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