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Author Topic: shetland lambing???  (Read 4167 times)

bloomer

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shetland lambing???
« on: August 27, 2014, 03:57:27 pm »
hi


when do people aim to have their shetlands lamb?


we are in north fife and they will lamb outdoors ideally and im just planning tupping etc...


do they usually lamb in april like other breeds or are they better earlier/later???


thanks

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
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Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2014, 04:06:19 pm »
There'll probably be an element of "they'll lamb when they're good and ready", in that our sheep last year - commercials as well as primitives - just didn't come a-tupping until well into October (commercials) / November (primitives.)  They had tups with them but simply weren't interested - the weather was too warm to kick start their cycles.

So, unless you need a tight lambing, keep the tup out until you are happy for them to lamb 5 months hence, then pop him in and leave them to get on with doing it nature's way.  If you need a tighter lambing - got to plan work commitments around it, for instance - then run the tup next to the girls for a few weeks until you've seen ewes pressed up against the fence wearing 'come hither' expressions for a week or more.  (It'll be different ewes each day - an individual ewe is generally tupping for 12-24 hours.)  That tells you the girls have started cycling, so hopefully once you put the tup in, he'll catch pretty much everyone within 17 days.  To be extra sure you get a tight lambing, don't put the tup in until you've seen *all* your girls beckoning him through the fence, so you know they are *all* cycling.  Then, assuming all in good condition, you really should get 95%+ all taking within 17 days.

To be even more rigorous, some folks use veterinary intervention to synchronise cycles.  It's not something we've done so I'll leave others with experience of it to describe it to you.  I think jaykay did this last year, as she had to lamb in the school Easter hols.
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bloomer

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Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 04:09:55 pm »
tight would be nice but isn't the end of the world its more whats best for lambs...


thanks


i'll get them happily flirting before i let them together :-)






Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 04:41:05 pm »
Just remember, Shetlands can jumb - girls and boys, when lust driven.

5th November tupping will give a 1st April lambing - roughly.

Your lambing period could last as long as you leave the tup in, so unless you want the possibility of lambing for a long period, work on having him in for two cycles / 35 days roughly. If he's working and the ewes are cycling and in the right condition, most will get in lamb.

I suggest using raddle on the tup firstly so you know that he's working and secondly so that you can see if a lot of ewes covered in the first 17 days come back - in which case he may be infertile.

I don't know if you are planning to have them scanned but I can give you the name of a very good scanner working in the area who's happy to do small numbers, has done ours for six lambings and never been wrong  :)

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2014, 04:43:36 pm »
I sponged my ewes last year and it worked very well, as they all got tupped over a two-day period, and then lambing was really tight too. (It would have been an all-round success if tuppy would have been firing on all cylinders, but alas he didn't and I had only 50% of the white ewes (all three of them!) lamb, the other three didn't, despite being tupped twice.)

Depending on your ewe numbers and the age of tup you are buying, insert the sponges (all in one go or in two batches), and let the ewes run in a field next to the boy during that time. Remove sponges on day 12 (I think) and then let tup into that field two days after. If you manage to put some raddle powder on his chest, you can see if he does his whole flock within 24 to 48 hours, which is what he should do. Then leave him in and change colour 2 weeks after he first went in (ewes cycle is 17 days) and then you see if he is repeating on any of the girls.

Lambing should all be over within a week, some 140something days later.

So sponges go in 145 days plus 2 days plus 12 days before you want to lamb. My average has usually been around 146 days gestation.

If you lamb outside I would think the later the better, I now try and synchronise with school holidays in April, or if too early aim for last week in April. My ewes are then penned up in pens (Tim Tyne's design) straight after lambing, nowadays outside, but used to bring them into the shed (now got billy in residence), for about two days.

Shetlands prefer to lamb outside, mine were given the choice and usually went out. The commercials would stay inside! Most of them will start at dawn (so 5am start) or just when you get the dinner on the table...

How big is your field? I normally cordon off a largish corner of my lambing field, where the pens are too. Then at night I bring all the girls into that pen (6 x 6ft hurdles square), it means that I can check quickly at dawn and dusk (if necessary with a torch) from some distance and don't need to go near unless necessary. I also bring the newly lambed ewes and their lambs back into that pen for a couple of weeks or so, as we had a lamb killed by fox/badger a couple of years ago. Smaller pen means ewe has got more chance of NOT loosing her lamb.

bloomer

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Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2014, 05:10:37 pm »
tight lambing isn't that important, it was more about when is best for lambs to thrive :-) it would suit me for them to lamb early but as sally points out that may not work so it might have to be later...


looks like the november the 5th plan will be the one, mark tuppy up and wait and see :-) its only 5 ewes so its not the biggest flock to manage it was more for if with primitives later was better!!!


:-)

Brucklay

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Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 05:34:24 pm »
I find my Shetlands and Casttlemilks are more than happy to get on with it by 5th Nov - actually I was a day last last year but I do put the rams next door for a few weeks before hand to get them in the mood  :innocent:
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
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Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 05:43:05 pm »
We just go for the free and easy method.  Can't be bothered will all this faffing about  :innocent:  no sponges, no teasers, no raddle, no scan, no anything they wouldn't do on their own.   Primitives, which includes Shetlands, prefer to lamb in Spring, and here that means April (further north and west it is May, further south it could be earlier, I don't know), so Nov 5th for tup in and start lambing early April is fine.   We leave the tups in for four weeks and have had only 2 ewes in 18 years which haven't lambed.  This year, rather weirdly, they all lambed within two weeks, right in the middle of April.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 11:54:03 pm by Fleecewife »
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Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 05:52:58 pm »

We just go for the free and easy method.  Can't be bothered will all this faffing about  :innocent:  no sponges, no teasers, no raddle, no anything they wouldn't do on their own. 

Really depends what else goes on in your life, and on the holding - other livestock, veg garden and if you are the main housekeeper/school transporter/milker/poultry carer etc etc. A long lambing is extremely tiring, and although with 5 you probably will do fine, but getting up at 4am-ish for weeks on end is just too much.

However one thing that I would advise is to put a large number on one side of the ewe, some raddle paste on the tup and then note down the number of the ewe on the day she has been tupped. It will give you a rough estimate and you will know if she is imminent or not due for another 10 days...

jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2014, 06:07:58 pm »
I've always lambed in April, but I had a barn to lamb in, so if it was raining, they could have shelter, and in any case I made lambing pens for a couple of days, so I could do navels, tags etc without chasing lively Shetland lambs round a field.

Wet is more dangerous for lambs than cold. Wet and windy can kill them. If lambing completely outside I'd be aiming for the end of April rather than the beginning I think (so tup in at the end of November). My dad, who lambs outside nearby me, lambs end of April/beginning of May.

mowhaugh

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Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2014, 06:21:48 pm »
Yes, to a certain extent you have to do what suits you, as long as it doesn't compromise the sheep's welfare - for instance my Kerry Hills will all be sponged to ensure they lamb in the school holidays, and we adjust the tups going out a day or two either way to get the main bulk done in easter hols too.

bloomer

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Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2014, 06:22:37 pm »
see this is why i love you all


lots of answers to keep me straight


thank you all...

bigchicken

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Fife Scotland
Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2014, 07:56:52 pm »
I'm just down the road from you and lamb April every year with very little trouble. Sometimes the weather is not the best but I put up some shelters using hurdles and a few tarpaulin or what ever is handy after a week or so the lambs are hardy and sensible enough to find the sheltered parts of the field.
Shetland sheep, Castlemilk Moorits sheep, Hebridean sheep, Scots Grey Bantams, Scots Dumpy Bantams. Shetland Ducks.

moony

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Dent
Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2014, 08:11:50 pm »
Our Hebs run with the ram all year. They always seem to lamb last week in April or the first two weeks in May which is perfect for us. All the natives we have seem to lamb when they are ready, and if the weather is bad when the lambs do come they are excellent at sheltering and getting their lambs on their feet quickly. Our other breeds on the other hand like to lamb in March. That works fine in a good year as we lamb outdoors but the last two years have been terrible for them so this year they are going to be mid April as well.

trish.farm

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • hampshire
Re: shetland lambing???
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2014, 11:52:47 am »
I dont have Shetlands, mine are a mixed old bunch of this and that, but they all have a "come hither" look from August onwards!!  Right bunch of floozies!!  Tup goes in middle of Sept and they all tend to lamb within 2 weeks in Feb.  I have found that earlier lambing is better for the lambs at the end of the season as they still have good grass sept/oct time prior to slaughter.  It also fits in well with shooting ending on 1st feb and calving in april, spreads my workload a bit!!

 

whats a good cross to a shetland x southdown ewe for first time lambing...

Started by lizzypeg (9.38)

Replies: 8
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Last post January 13, 2013, 08:05:03 pm
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