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Author Topic: Outdoor lambing  (Read 3210 times)

Chugbi

  • Joined Oct 2016
Outdoor lambing
« on: October 06, 2016, 03:06:35 pm »
Hello  :sheep:
I have been using this site for a while however I'm new to the forums!
I was hoping for some advice regarding outdoor lambing as I have only ever used indoor systems & have recently taken on a new flock.

We have 70 Romneys covering 100+ acres so plenty of grass available for grazing, however no buildings/pens but will be placing old bales around for shelter. The ewes are all in good health & I've been told they have lambed previously but this was around 6 years ago.
Any knowledge shared will be greatly appreciated, I'm also interested in how other people lamb outdoors since I know of a few options such as moving indoors overnight.

Thanks in advance!
Voss Electric Fence

DartmoorLiz

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Devon
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2016, 11:43:51 am »
We lamb entirely outdoors. We have SBF x lleyn.  All selected for easy lambing. I try to keep really good records; I used to think I'd remember, now I write everything down.  The first and most important round is at first light, then 3-4 hourly through the day with the last as late as one person can bear knowing she is getting up at first light.  If ewe drops lambs into rain and gale bring them in, warm them up let them out next day or as soon as its sunny.  I can't catch lambs once they are over 24 hours old so iodine navels at birth then tag and tail and ball band at 24 hours.  I can't get near the ewes so spray their number on their side at heptavac booster time.  If a lamb gets stuck catch the ewe, get the dog, parents, neighbours, husband and make it as quick and stress free as I can.  This year I want a flock sized catching pen to aid stress free catching.  I overfed some ewes before lambing so 2 singles got stuck and needed help.  I won't do that again.  I'll scan them this year and only feed the twins. 


Good luck with your lambing.  Hope that helps.
Never ever give up.

Sbom

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Staffordshire
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2016, 12:02:01 pm »
I lamb my flock of  80/90 Romneys outdoors with no problems at all. I also lamb 500 Romney crosses outdoors for someone else. They are the perfect sheep for it, they hardly lamb in the night, mostly at first light.  I am in the field at first light and maybe check 3/4 times through the day finishing at dusk.
If they need catching to be lambed (very rarely) I use a crook. They also need no hard feed at all. Put  singles on poor grazing and everything else on slightly better. To much grass will result in fat sheep which will cause problems (twin lamb etc). Put in a lifeline bucket for energy.
Any problem ones are brought back to the farm and penned til sorted. They are also marked for culling.
 I'd also recommend getting them shorn now, as they grow an immense fleece which increases problems with getting cast when heavy in lamb. Mine are being done this week.
Not experienced sheep with a 6 year gap between lambing....if they lambed six years ago they will be at least 8? Why the gap? It may mean you struggle to get in lamb...
What tup are you putting on them?

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2016, 02:15:24 pm »
I noticed the age of the ewes too.  If you were doing this for any commercial reasons you would be advised to sell the lot for meat and use the money to buy some shearlings to get into lamb.  We have started to routinely "send away" any ewe over 6 years old (except the "special" ones of course!).  Lambing gets more difficult with age, if they are broken mouthed then they may struggle to get enough nutrition to carry the lambs.
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2016, 02:18:09 pm »
If 8 years old are their teeth in good condition?  They'll struggle to raise lambs otherwise.  Can you run them with a teaser ram beforehand?  For shelter set up bales or felled treetrunks in a swastika pattern, park a trailer or horsebox in the field, pile up brushwood, anything to cut the wind strength.


waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2016, 03:50:12 pm »
We have always lambed our ewes outside from April-may, sometimes a bit later (a few years ago anyway). Depending what time you're lambing and where you live, it all really depends on the weather. The only problems we have had with lambing outdoors is sudden changes in temperature, crows and foxes/stray dogs. Whatever you do there will be problems entailed to it, like everything, but lambing outdoors I think is better in some ways for the lambs, as they are born quite hardy. :) All the best :thumbsup:
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

CarolineJ

  • Joined Dec 2015
  • North coast of Scotland
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2016, 09:15:14 pm »
Most people lamb outside up here and we get Weather with a capital W  :raining: :raining: :gloomy: :gloomy:  If it's going to be really vile, the lambs get popped into little plastic jackets which gives them a bit of protection. 

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2016, 08:06:56 am »

#Outdoor lambing---
1) Remember it's the ewes that are lambing not you---so leave them alone
2) Grass is needed so you don't have to distract/disturb them by feeding
3) Again---leave them alone---this is the biggest problem with outdoor lambing ---interfering people

Get some binoculars and enjoy looking at them from a distance

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2016, 09:04:30 am »
To much grass will result in fat sheep which will cause problems (twin lamb etc).

I thought twin lamb was the opposite problem though, i.e. inadequate nutrition causing a drain on the ewe's energy supplies. What am I missing here?  ???
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2016, 10:07:03 am »
To much grass will result in fat sheep which will cause problems (twin lamb etc).

I thought twin lamb was the opposite problem though, i.e. inadequate nutrition causing a drain on the ewe's energy supplies. What am I missing here?  ???

If they're fat, by the time they have lambs growing as well, their bellies are too full and there isn't the room for the amount of forage they need to eat, especially in the last weeks of gestation. 

You can ameliorate the problem by giving them sugar licks, or molasses, in the last 6 weeks, when they need lots of glucose and may struggle to metabolise enough fat to meet the needs of their own bodies and the growing lambs.

The other problem about very fat sheep is lambing - narrowed birth canal, ewe tires more quickly, and so on.
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

Chugbi

  • Joined Oct 2016
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2016, 07:34:22 pm »
Thanks all for the replies! Would have posted back earlier but have been super busy.

I have only recently taken on the flock and the age wasn't mentioned until recently (they are not sure exact,y but from a guess they believe they are around 8 years). I am unsure wether I will actually put them to tup as due to some issues I haven't been able to pen them up & even check their udders/teeth which has been a huge stress since they are still wanting to lamb them! I was not going to sort out a ram until I knew they were in good health & now it's getting a tad late but we shall see, maybe an even later lambing will be preferable. I immensely appreciate all the advice  :)

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2016, 07:29:14 am »
^ Thanks for the reply Sally - practical and to the point as ever  :thumbsup: .
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Outdoor lambing
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2016, 01:24:12 pm »
Thanks all for the replies! Would have posted back earlier but have been super busy.

I have only recently taken on the flock and the age wasn't mentioned until recently (they are not sure exact,y but from a guess they believe they are around 8 years). I am unsure wether I will actually put them to tup as due to some issues I haven't been able to pen them up & even check their udders/teeth which has been a huge stress since they are still wanting to lamb them! I was not going to sort out a ram until I knew they were in good health & now it's getting a tad late but we shall see, maybe an even later lambing will be preferable. I immensely appreciate all the advice  :)
It shouldn't be too late to get a ram.... It may be worthwhile going to local sheep marts and picking p one from there. Preloved also have loads of rams for sale atm too. http://www.preloved.co.uk/search?keyword=tups
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

 
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