Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: The best laid plans..........  (Read 3410 times)


  • Joined Apr 2013
  • North Devon
The best laid plans..........
« on: April 28, 2014, 07:33:02 am »
Having got through the anguish of deciding to cull my friendliest old ewe because of her continual foot problems and mastitis last year, I booked her in to the abattoir for today. But when I looked at her on Saturday she had the beginnings of an udder. When I examined her closer there appeared to be a hard layer of tense muscle between her her udder and her chest. She is eating like a horse and has a lot of condition on her - 3.5 to 4 I'd say. She has not been near my tup since 2012 though I put some ringed ram lambs with her after they were weaned at the end of last year until this February. Maybe one of those wasn't quite separated from his cajones? They are all in the freezer now, so can't check. It's the muscle corset that is the puzzle, though I have never felt underneath a pregnant ewe before, so it might be normal! Any suggestions gratefully received.
Oh needless to say, I cancelled the abattoir.

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: The best laid plans..........
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2014, 08:04:33 am »
Firstly, well done for not sending her. I'm sure the staff wouldn't want to see any lambs! Now if she is a 3.5-4 sc she could just be laying fat in her udder? If you feel just in frOnt of the udder on her belly and push firmly what can you feel? If she's not in lamb this will feel squishy and soft but if it's hard I'd say she could well be in lamb.

Are you due a vet visit any time soon? Had one of mine scanned with a cattle scanner after the ewe was attacked by a dog, he could tell me there was a lamb but not how many that close to lambing (8 weeks away)

Jukes Mum

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • North Yorkshire
Re: The best laid plans..........
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2014, 02:30:39 pm »
Hi Slimjim- any update on your ewe?
Don’t Monkey With Another Monkey’s Monkey


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: The best laid plans..........
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2014, 04:49:33 pm »
We think we're pretty thorough at debollocking our ram lambs but a couple of our ewes look to be bagging up despite our choice not to lamb this year and get our numbers down instead :o  Now worried there's a rig in there somewhere. Over a dozen candidates!! How do you tell who? I've given most of my lambing kit away as stuff would be out of date by the time I'd maybe have needed it again as well ::)  Can ewes bag up on good grass or have phantom pregnancies? There is a neighbouring flock with lambs. Wondered if they might be getting mumsie? Someone say "Yes" as we so don't need lambies :tired:
What's happening with your old girl Slimjim?


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: The best laid plans..........
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 05:32:51 pm »
The only time I've seen bagging up in non-pregnant ewes was when a batch of gimmers went out onto a fantastic clover-rich ley.  Clover creates oestrogen, which caused them to appear to bag up!

If you have a local AI (cattle) man, he may be able to scan the sheep to tell you which are in lamb.  Otherwise your local sheep scanner - but being unseasonal that could be a bit pricey.  Or the vet may be able to do it fairly reasonably.  Otherwise it's wait and watch for signs!

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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: The best laid plans..........
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2014, 05:46:59 pm »
Are the teats getting larger?  Is the vulva larger/softer/pinker than you'd expect? 


  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: The best laid plans..........
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2014, 09:49:59 pm »
If you hold the wether (or rig ::) )as if you were shearing, and press firmly in the area where his bag would be, you may be able to feel the testicle inside him.  As our shearer said once 'aye, aye, we've a bollock here girl :o '!
Our vet nurse will do scanning as a welfare issue - not the whole flock - but it is worth asking.  Hope they are just doing well instead ;)


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: The best laid plans..........
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2014, 10:40:38 pm »
Interesting about the clover but it's not particularly clover-rich pasture. O-oh. Will keep a close eye on them and bring them in if things look decidedly imminent  :fc:


  • Joined Apr 2013
  • North Devon
Re: The best laid plans..........
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2014, 01:28:12 pm »
 Thank you for that and I'm sorry it's taken so long to report back. I have had a telephone chat with my ace vet and he has not seen anything like I describe. Top of his suggestions is that she is just fat. So fat that a a thick layer of now hard fat has been laid down just beneath the abdominal skin. He has seen a sort of pseudo udder begin to show in overweight ewes before. Although it's I soft and squidgy, I didn't think it contained milk. The nipples are small and normal for non pregnancy. he has offered to scan her for nothing in the interests of  expanding our knowledge. I will take her in next week. Remember she is a poll dorset and easily the greediest sheep I've ever had, eating 24/7.
Thanks again..


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