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Author Topic: Lambing for first time  (Read 4434 times)


  • Joined Apr 2012
Lambing for first time
« on: April 02, 2012, 11:07:39 am »
Hi Everyone
I am new to sheep keeping, and would like a few pointers please.  I have a mountain of books to start reading, but they are going to take some time, so I thought I would ask my biggest worries here first, so I don't get caught out before I finish reading.
I have 3 North Ronaldsay's, one castrated exceptionally tame ram, and 2 ewe's would are a little flighty.  They are all rescue sheep from the RSPCA, and we are keeping them as lawnmowers and pets only.
The two ewe's I believe may be in lamb, as they had been running with a ram when they were taken in by the RSPCA.  That would give them a rough due period of 20 April to 14th May according to the paperwork I got with them.
So, my questions are:
1) Do I need to be worried about flystrike now due to warm weather, and can my ewe's be treated with anything considering they are in lamb?  They all have very clean bottoms and were wormed by the RSPCA before they came to me.  Someone has mentioned Tubby's??? There is one you can feed for flu strike apparently?  Also, is this safe to give if they are in lamb?
2)  The thought of lambing as a new keeper of a few weeks fills me with dread.  Do I need an emergency kit, and what should that kit consist of?  Also, how long should a Ewe labour for?  I have also heard that North Ronaldsays have a tendency to have twins - how far between are the lambs usually born?
3)  How much should I be feeding in supplement feed?  I don't want fat Ewe's and overly large lambs? 
Sorry for all the silly questions, but I am paranoid that something will happen before I have had time to read all my books!!
Thank you!

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Lambing for first time
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 09:33:06 pm »
Sorry Burrwoodfm, I cant be of much help to you because I am in a similar position to you. We have had a small flock of Soay sheep for about 2 years now and we are anxiously waiting for our first lambs at the moment. It is really difficult when you have limited experience and there seems so much to learn ..... I know exactly how you are feeling.

We are lucky in that we have a local farmer who is very helpful and willing to give advice and help and to answer all our silly questions. Is there anyone near to you who may be willing to give you a hand ? Can the RSPCA put you in touch with anyone?

This site is brilliant and hopefully someone with experience may come along soon with some advice. If you look at past threads I know that you will find some of the answers to your questions, eg. about basics for your lambing box.

Your vet will give you advice about worming and so on. Our vet has been very patient with us and devised a simple management plan.

We treat for flies in May (advised by our neighbour). I was worried with all this warm weather but not so today!!! Now worried that any lambs may freeze!!!  ::)

We feed hay ad lib and about a mug of concentate each. They also have a ewe/lamb lick bucket. I took advice from The Soay Sheep Society regarding feed. I suppose it also depends on your grazing. Is there a similar society for your breed?

Sorry that I cant give you more direct help. Hopefully someone can.


  • Joined Sep 2009
  • England
Re: Lambing for first time
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2012, 11:58:25 pm »
I've just come back from my lambing shed having seen my first set of triplets born. I have Ryeland and Gotland sheep.
My advice would be
pick 1 book
read the section on feeding prior to lambing
read the section on lambing
Give the book to the sheep for them to read.
Sorry to be flippant but each ewe is different, each breed is different and each shepherd is different in the way they handle their sheep, I think all these things make a huge difference.
Read through some of the other posts, there's a wealth of information there which will help.
Then as things start to happen ask about your circumstances, which is what many of us do to get help from others who are going through the same thing at the same time.
Go about things quietly and calmly and your sheep will appreciate that, use common sense and expect your sheep to try to kill themselves.
Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.


  • Joined Jul 2010
  • Shrewsbury
    • Fairfax Ryeland Flock
    • Facebook
Re: Lambing for first time
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2012, 09:48:17 am »
Hi  :wave:

We have just done our first lambing, we have Ryelands, and although I spent weeks worrying about it before hand it wasn't bad ;D We had 5 ewes to lamb with only one akward one which happened to be the first  ::). All the others did it pretty much themselves just a bit of help for the last one which was a single and quite large. Ryelands can be quite tubby so they had a ewe lick and good grazing for the last 4 weeks of gestation but before that it was just grass and literally a handful of nuts between them all in the morning so they would come over for a quick health check. Lambs have been a good size, all twins apart from the last one. Mum's produced lots of milk and are in good condition after lambing. I took advice from my vet about the equipment required and settled on the following
Terramycin spray
Terramycin injection
disposable gloves
coloured marker to identify whose who 

The first ewe that lambed had loads of colostrum and as one of the twins died unfortunately I milked a little off her and put it in the freezer in case of any emergencies which may arise with the next ones (luckily it hasn't been needed)

Good luck with your lambing, I'm sure you will do great  :thumbsup:


  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Worcestershire
    • Its Baaath Time
    • Facebook
Re: Lambing for first time
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2012, 10:06:14 am »
We had an entire ram running with our ewes and believed that they might have been pregnant. Before we bought in all the extra stuff we might need I had the vet out (he was doing a routine CAE test on my preg goat anyway) and he scanned the ewes. It cost about 7 per ewe and both were empty. For me it worked out well as it meant I didn't have to go through the are they/aren't they with them.
The Tim Tyne book is meant to be amazing for first time sheep keepers, I still haven't bought it tsk tsk but its on my list of must do's.
ps. have just helped my nanny goat with her first kidding and considering we were both first timers, it was calm, enjoyable and amazing so if they are pregnant try to relax and not worry too much  :)
Smallholding in Worcestershire, making goats milk soap for and mum to 4 girls,  goats, sheep, chickens, dog, cat and garden snails...


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Lambing for first time
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2012, 04:01:51 pm »
Thank you all so much.  Sorry my reply is a little delayed.  Still waiting, and Ewe dates have been roughly given to be as anytime from the 20th, so reading like mad now, and trying to be calm, but it seems to be easier said than done.  Just end up feeling paranoid all the time - bit when I was pregnant myself for the first time!!! :)


  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Lambing for first time
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2012, 05:06:56 pm »
I would have thought primitives would lamb outdoors no probs mid Apr. I wouldnt give sheep like that nuts or concentrates, itll be too much for them and will lead to problems at lambing. They may need minerals, id use a block. If they are flighty, the worst thing you can do is bring them in all the time and prod them. These breeds were bred to survive in harsh environments on poor grazing, so dont think you are being hard on them, you are actually meeting their needs more effectiveley.


  • Joined Mar 2011
  • Dolau, Llandrindod Wells,Powys
Re: Lambing for first time
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2012, 05:30:52 pm »
Just goes to show what a bunch of ignorant idiots the RSPCA are , they dont care who they give animals to or how experienced they are in looking after them, mind you , just looking over a field gate is probably more experience than the  " inspector " ever had. Anything bigger than a Gerbill and they are out of their depth. I just hope you didn't donate a penny to their funds.

Find a local sheep keeper and ask them to come and give you some experienced advice on your sheep ,and then sit in on some of his /her lambings , they will be glad to prevent you from loosing any stock from lack of knowldge. You can't beat hands on experience.


  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: Lambing for first time
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2012, 06:26:01 pm »
Hi Burwood fm!  :wave:

What area are you - there may be someone on here who is near to you and can help you out.  And have you a helpful vet?  Are your sheep at home (much easier to keep an eye on them).  I would give them ad lib hay, a mineral bucket, and just a tiny bit of coarse mix each day just to get them used to you.  You will end up peering at their rear ends a lot in the next fortnight  ;D ;D


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Lambing for first time
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2012, 07:07:27 pm »
Slightly off topic but my Dad and I keep rolling around each time he remembers a very young RSPCA chap coming to the house to ask whose were the horses in the next field.

Dad say 'why, what's the matter'?
Well, we've had reports that they're being kept without food and water day after day and I've just checked and it's the case, there are no buckets, feed troughs or anything.

Dad tried to speak but couldn't for laughing. Then he walked with the chap to the field and pointed out the grass and the beck running around the side.........


  • Joined Jan 2011
Re: Lambing for first time
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2012, 09:16:35 pm »
We had a visit from the rspca recently as someone had complained about the same thing. They said that no one had been seen visiting the animals for weeks and they were being neglected. Perhaps that is because 'normal people' aren't around at dawn and dusk throughout the winter months when we are trudging about the field de-icing water and spreading hay about. Needless to say the inspector had to give us a clean bill of health when he saw our free range chickens and fat happy ponies, sheep and pigs. Sorry to go off topic. We're lambing for the first time too. This is a great place to find advice and reassurance. Thanks everyone!


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