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Old 7th February 2010, 07:22 PM   #1
Kinney
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Question Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Please, someone answer my dumb question.

We have sheep who we hope are in lamb as we acquired a ram last year. We have had lambs before but never had a permanent ram on our property.

My question is, is it ok for a ram to be in the paddock with sheep who then lamb? or is it standard practice to take the ram out prior to lambing? I was thinking in terms of safety for the newborn lambs as I know that with some animals the male of the species will attack newborns.

Hope you all aren't laughing too much at my question. Someone please educate me.

thanks
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Old 7th February 2010, 08:25 PM   #2
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Not a dumb question at all!

I would think it would depend on the ram's personality traits...

I seem to remember others on here leave their rams in all year round with no problems.

Our boy Bob, on the other hand, gets to go in for nooky, then is out again the rest of the year as he is a big bully, both to the ewes once he has had his way with them, and with us. I wouldn't trust him with the lambs, and his presence in the paddock would mean we couldn't get access to the ewes

Keep in mind that their personalities also seem to change as they get older, and remember: never trust a ram, and don't turn your back on one, no matter how nice he seems to be! One of the more experienced members on here had a particularly nasty time with one that suddenly turned on her last year out of the blue. He was ram sausages not long after
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Old 7th February 2010, 08:37 PM   #3
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Hi Kinney,

not a dumb question at all. We have a ram with our 2 ewes all year round as with a small flock like ours it would be a bit of a joke to keep the ram separately.

We haven't had problems with the ram and the lambs at all. We wether our ram lambs straight after they've been born. Sometimes there is a bit of head butting between the ram and the growing wethers which starts sometime after Christmas but no injuries so far and we've had our wee family for 7 years now.

We do, of course, have to watch out for what the ram is doing. Never ever go into a paddock with a ram in it if you carry food of any kind. He can't wait and will charge and possibly attack.

Don't get a hand raised ram, especially if he is with the ewes all year round. You need one who still has his natural fear of humans, otherwise it will be almost impossible to work with the ewes.
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Old 7th February 2010, 08:42 PM   #4
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simkin View Post
with a small flock like ours it would be a bit of a joke to keep the ram separately.
We only have 6 ewes for the one ram...but then, our 3 acres is divided into 8 paddocks of varying sizes, so Bob gets his own digs right in the central race where he is always sharing a boundary with his harem and can keep an eye on them
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Old 7th February 2010, 08:43 PM   #5
Kinney
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Thanks for your replies.

Hmmmmm. I'm not sure now what to do.

He is a hand reared ram, not by us though and he does like to bunt. I have been on the receiving end of a couple of good bunts and one time he charged at me and knocked me down when we were trying to catch our runaway goat in the same paddock.
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Old 7th February 2010, 09:09 PM   #6
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Our ram runs most of the year with his wives and children. This year he is having a month on his own to increase his interest when his wives are returned shortly. We saw the most amazing things at times with him with his (first for us) lambs in 2009 - he was very gentle with them, took his share of babysitting duties, and on more than one occasion, he escorted a crying lamb, who had wandered round the corner of the paddock and thus out of sight of mum, back to its mother. He is not a hand reared ram, is always at the back of the flock when the sheep nuts are being given, is always kept in his place but does seem gentle - agree with T and S - I guess each ram is different
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Old 7th February 2010, 09:34 PM   #7
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

A couple of minor points.
1. With most breeds of sheep in NZ, the ewe stops cycling after the shortest day and doesn't start again until after the longest day. So there will be very few lambs around until early June .... unless you have Dorsets or Dorpers.
2. Some rams don't interfere with the ewes at and just after lambing. Others do. With a ewe that is fighting off a randy ram, there is lots of chance that the maternal bond won't be established, or another ewe will steal the lamb/s. Both actions result in dead lamb/s.
3. From my years in Manawatu, the climate is fairly similar to here. I don't do June lambing because the grass that a newly-lambed ewe needs doesn't start growing until August.
4. Ensure that your ewes have access to a MultiMineral salt block at all times.
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Old 7th February 2010, 09:52 PM   #8
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Kinney, the reason most farmers pull their rams out is for management rather than safety. If the ram is put in on a certain date and pulled out on a certain date the farmer knows exactly when lambing will begin and end and can arrange feed and stock management accordingly. For small numbers of sheep it often isn't so important.

These days I do the same as I have sufficient sheep that I don't want lambs still appearing at Christmas - which has happened when the ram was running full time with the ewes. And when they were, not one of my rams was in the slightest bit interested in the lambs or their mothers. The worst they did was smell them and walk off with a wrinkled nose that seemed to express disgust

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Old 7th February 2010, 10:26 PM   #9
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Kinney - I am one of those who have been spoilt with beautiful temperament rams over the years and have always run them with the ewes all year round. From a core of 13 ewes, I have found it usual to have 11 lambs within a few days of each other and two three weeks later. The behaviour of the rams just as eelcat described is my experience too.

However, take heed of the others advise with the most important being - do NOT keep or use a hand reared ram. You risk serious injury to yourself and your children if you do. There are always exceptions but this is not one to take a risk with.

The thing I like about having the Ram run with the ewes all year round is that I like to trust nature to pick the right time for the lambs to be born. Mind, if you have a holiday away planned later in the year, then obviously you don't want them lambing then.

No right or wrong in your question as you can see.
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Old 8th February 2010, 05:49 AM   #10
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Manawatu here to kinney .... i agree with Long ridge, i lambed middle to end of august last season, and grass was good for mum and lamb then, and weather even obliged and wasn't to wet or cold for the new born lambs.
Depnds what breed your ram is i guess, and with him having been hand rearred, you will really have to watch him carefully, and the best bit of advice given is Never Turn your back on him if your in the paddock ( i made that mistake, and it hurt)
I agree with Ronney to , as i like to know approx when my lambs will arrive, so only have a short time per year to have to worry about maybe having to bottle feed lambs
good luck with what ever you decide to do
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Old 8th February 2010, 10:17 AM   #11
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Hi, I keep my Ram BEN in with the girls 24/7. He is very friendly (although not hand reared)- but I always keep a close eye on him, especially in breeding season, I never get between him and one of his girls. Apart from that he also runs with my two pet whethers. He never bothers the girls when they are lambing and when the lambs are older, they often climb on his back and play games around him. He is a cool dude, I have had to give Ben a smack on the nose if he gets too 'devilish' but I would not have a hand reared ram on a small property. The woman down the road from me was killed a few years ago by her pet ram and all she was doing was crossing their paddock to collect her letters from the letter box.
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Old 8th February 2010, 11:24 AM   #12
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

our ram goes in mid april and stays with the girls until christmas when he gets separated off with any ram lambs for company. We do this to control when we are lambing and have not had any problems with him being in during lambing or even with him paddocked with his sons.
I have seen our ram sitting down chewing his cud with lambs bouncing around and over him, is very cute and he makes a great platform for them to stand on
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Old 8th February 2010, 06:26 PM   #13
Kinney
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Thanks for all your replies. It is really helpful to hear others experiences and is giving me ammunition for the inevitable . . . I think he has got to go. Ram sausages it will be.

My husband insisted on jumping in boots and all and acquiring him and I said I wanted to find out more about having a ram permanently. I wasn't aware of the issues around hand reared rams. I'm am scared to go in the paddock with him (because he knocked me down) and am worried about when our nearly 2 year old learns to climb the fence - he can get 1/2 way up now.

So thanks for sharing. Very helpful.
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Old 8th February 2010, 06:51 PM   #14
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Are you wanting to increase your flock numbers? If so, use him for this mating, then move him on, if you get a new ram after that you can keep all your ewe lambs from this season for future breeders
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Old 8th February 2010, 10:25 PM   #15
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Re: Rams in paddock with lambing ewes - ok or a no-no???

Being softies when we had our block meant that we had a hard time parting with wethers that were very tame. So we had several If you have the space, I would recommend you get a new ram when the time comes, unless you know someone you can borrow from (or send your girls over if you have only a few?) and keep a few wethers from your first lambs as paddock mates for a ram during the times you may want to keep them apart.

Don't fuss over the ram, but with the quiet wethers he should get used to being around people without losing his fear of them completely and maintain a bit of respect for you as a boss.

We had a ram that was very trustworthy, but one year at lambing he decided to hassle one of the first-time lambers. As Longridge said, the mother got distracted with trying to keep the ram away from her and the newborn couldn't get a drink. Thankfully we noticed quickly and did manage to separate him (ps: this is sort of the worst time to get between a ram and the object of his desire but it had to be done! Carefully!!). Managed to reunite the ewe and her lamb and latched him on so that was all good.

In short, it may be fine some of the time, but not necessarily all the time. Up to you to decide if you can keep a close enough watch and be prepared to deal with it. Otherwise keep them apart at lambing.

Also, please never keep a ram in a paddock all by himself. It will stress him out terribly.
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