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Author Topic: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE  (Read 4407 times)

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« on: April 17, 2013, 09:45:21 am »
We had hoped to keep last years lambs .... 8 wethers and a ewe lamb .... in with the expectant ewes and lamb them in the same paddock, then moving the ewes and newborns to clean grass.

We didn't raddle the tup (as he was not our own) but watched very carefully for when he started to show interest in the ewes. We thought that the first ewe would lamb around now and this morning on our second check at 7.30, found that this ewe was being pursued by all of last years lambs. Some of the wethers were trying to mount her  :o . She was attempting to get away but they were pretty persistent. We were worried that she was about to lamb and managed to catch her and pop her in the field shelter. Been checking her but no real signs of lambing yet. She can see the others through the slatted doors but being Soay they don't seem to like prolonged confinement (okay for about 24 hrs after giving birth last year but even then started to get restless).

Does anyone else lamb with last years lambs in with the ewes?  ...... Or is this a no,no ?  :o

Do I need to separate them ..... which will mean a bit of man-handling when they are quite heavily in lamb ?

Help  :o


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2013, 09:52:27 am »
Our ewe hoggs are usually in with the pregnant ewes and we've had no problems. Never had wethers in with them though as ours are all away in autumn. I'm sure there was something on here before about tups maybe harassing lambing ewes because of hormones - but I may have dreamed that  :eyelashes:


  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2013, 09:58:38 am »
Not had this problem with ewes but I know I have to separate colt and filly foals before they are 9 months old as the boys start to get ideas.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 10:32:22 am »
Never bother to castrate ram lambs - they're either good enough for breeding or they end up on a plate.  Priority has to be not to let the pregnant ewe become stressed.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2013, 10:43:09 am »
Agree MF, but being Soay they won't make their final journey until this year and hence they are castrated. They haven't shown any interest in the ewes until today ..... can only think it's some hormones being given off as the ewe is nearing her time. Know this can be a problem with tups but thought the wethers wouldn't be a problem, especially seeing that we have seen no behaviour of that sort until now. We have watched them closely.  ???

To minimize any stress think we may have to move the ewes to their clean grass now .... not ideal.  :(

Still no sign of her lambing and she wants to get out.  ::)


  • Joined Feb 2013
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 10:53:19 am »
We had a similar problem with our soays this year, we tried to keep the small flock together for the first time. This was fine until the first ewe gave birth, a while after the ram suddenly started to show interest and we had to separate the ewe and lamb. We are keeping the ram separate from the girls now but he does seem a little lonely with only the next door sheep for company  :( not ideal...

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 11:07:07 am »
 :wave:  Hi Toe,

We lambed for the first time last year and had the same problem with our on-loan tup. The plan was for him to stay with the flock during lambing and be returned in June ( which I believe some people do successfully). Luckily we were able to return him early when we realized that there were going to be problems and arranged for this years tup to go back once he had done his job. Initially we did wonder about the wethers but dismissed the problem as they showed no rammy behaviour at all.


  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 11:22:27 am »
They must smell different when they are about to lamb, or have lambed, as my ewes tend to sniff the bottoms of those about to lamb, or have lambed, quite a bit.  (and that's just ewes with ewes, no boys)


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2013, 01:30:02 pm »
The ewe hogg could be ok but not the wethers, so separating them would be a good idea, especially if you can think of a way where the stress is on the hoggs not the in-lamb ewes.   It is the hormones given off which is making the wethers behave that way - nobody told them they don't have the necessaries, and anything's worth a try  ;D .
We had a Manx wether who was pretty bad that way so he got chucked in with the breeding tups until he was ready for the table.
We have also just had to chuck our two unbred Soays out from being in with the in-lamb ewes.  They were shoving them away from the feed and butting them rather viciously in their sides.  We have in the past kept ewe hoggs in with the ewes during lambing and I think it helped them the following year with their own first deliveries, and on those occasions we have had no problems.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

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in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 02:49:18 pm »
Thanks FW.

Thought we would be okay with the wethers seeing that they had shown no ram like behaviour up until this point ... obviously wrong  ::) .

Now to think of a way to separate them without causing too much distress. They don't separate easily and OH is off on a business trip this evening and then I'm on my own for a while so got to get it done quickly.

The ewe isn't showing imminent signs of lambing yet so I guess they might pester for a while before the ewe actually lambs.

Arrr ..... why do I keep sheep.  ::)


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 04:49:51 pm »
Actually I have had similar trouble with the goats this year - the goatlings and the nannies-not-in-kid were chasing the very pregnant nannies round - I was very surprised. So had to have them out for exercise in shifts, with the unbred nannies and goatlings getting the later slot, as priority for exercise was for the pregnant ladies. Lots of lip-rasing and sniffing each others pee too...
So maybe similar issue with the sheep??? Mine are always separate at this time of year anyay.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2013, 05:01:40 pm »
Think mine will be separate in future too but with not that many acres/fields to play with it will mean that it's not so easy to rotate all the sheep.  :(

Perhaps we could look at crossing them with a sire so that their lambs could go in the autumn.   ???  Will have to have a think and ask a few questions to some TAS'ers that are in the know.  :)


  • Joined Apr 2013
  • North Devon
Re: Lambing trouble .... any advice PLEASE
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2013, 09:42:25 pm »
What a coincidence! I have had a year old Badger Face (BF) wether running with my 6 ewes ever since the Jacob ram went in last November.Apart from being completel barmy and leading escape missions from time to time, he has been no trouble to the ewes.However, just today, when our sole B F ewe went into labour, he started attacking her, butting her head on and on her flanks. The other in-lamb ewes rallied round her to protect her, but he still got through until I chased him away and penned up the  BF ewe. His future is now rather shorter than he would have liked, but clearly he poses a threat to any of the remaining in-lamb ewes when they start their labour. I don't know what precipitated this behaviour from an instinct point of view. Up until then, being the only two badgers in the group, they seemed to be the best of pals.


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