How do folks keep track of lambs?

10 years 7 months ago #473241 by Falcons Rest
I found the "button" part of the tag is useful for identifying which ram was dad - my current lad (Nero) has all his lams with blue tags so I know to keep him away from his own daughters; when I get a new ram, his lambs will get a new button colour.
Prior to lambing I use spray chalk to write the ewes numbers on both their sides when I do the pre-lamb vaccine which then means I don't need to disturb any ewes for a few weeks after they've lambed so less chance of mixing up whose lamb is whose!
Once everyone has lambed (and I've worked out my sex ratio on the daily walks round the fields!) I go get my new tags sorted and then bring them in for their earrings! I can then give them their numbers (eg 1301, 1302 etc; 13 for 2013 and 01 for lamb 1 caught), paint the last number (eg 1) on their side (- more chalk spray) and after everyone's back in the fields dig out a cider, pen & paper and the binoculars to see who goes to who! (sex is recorded for each number at tagging).
As I only have a small breeding group (13 ewes) there's not much panic in the yards (the girls are used to walking through them every time they move fields. Makes shifting them a bit of a palava but means they walk right in without a worry & wait for the gate to close before the next opens to the new grass. Daft bugger's haven't worked out they often go (through the race way!) back into the holding yard & then to the next field!

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Wiltshires, Beefies, Boers, Captain Cookers, Muscovies, assorted Chooks, 2 cats & a confused dog........ No suprise the cats are in charge.:p

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10 years 6 months ago #475800 by craighill
um !we are not lifestyle block but enjoy seeing the feedback ,we are trying to become organic! we have 2000 and dont tag any ,until docking then its one side for boys other for girls and an age mark ,so that you can easily sort them for selling and know how old your ewes are.
If you want to mark them do it before 24 hours their not so mobile .We use to shed them up ,move them into a new paddock once they have lambed ,but needs to be done slowly at ewes pace so as not to miss mother them,
hope that helps

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10 years 6 months ago #475823 by Sandra Pedersen
As my lambs are born I go out and check the sex so tagging is quite easy as the lambs are not so quick when they are newly born and mum normally hangs around although i don't mark the ewes but I always know who is from who.Observation is the best thing as you can pickup when things go wrong.I always do a head count when i am around them too.

sandra pedersen

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10 years 6 months ago #475832 by Woolpatch
Thanks all, loads of helpful tips, will be sorted for next season!

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10 years 6 months ago #475835 by 4trees
Hi Woolpatch, sometimes if you can sneak out into the paddock for a wee while with the camera, you will find mum and lambs not far away, a little bit of a rustle will often bring the lambs to mum and you can photograph them. Draft that animal off, into another paddock and you will soon tell if you got the right ewe and lambs. This will only work if you have a few sheep, we have over 100 ewes and 190 lambs, so it is a bit difficult.!!! Cheers.


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10 years 5 months ago #477648 by pvorac
One suggestion from a Suffolk Breeder. The best time to tag the lambs is when you put the newborn lambs and their mum (ewe) in their lamb jug to begin bonding and for the shepherd to observe how the lambs are nursing, amount of ewe's milk, eye problems, any issues. We use Alflex plastic yellow lamb tags, sequentially numbered. For 2014 lambs, the tags would begin with 1401, 1402, 1403, etc. Ewe lambs are tagged in their right ear, ram lambs in their left ear, with the point down. Then note in your Journal the ear tag number of the ewe and her lambs. You may also want to paint brand the ewes ear tag number on the backs of the lambs. That way you can always make sure that the proper lambs are with the right ewe.

Regarding lamb jug sizes. All sheep books list the wrong sizes for lamb jugs. A lamb jug should be at least 6'x6' for singles and twins. We have gone to 7' wide x 6' deep for singles and twins. This gives a bit more room for larger ewes, and the ewe is less likely to step on a lamb. For triplets we use 6' or 7' wide x 8' deep lamb jugs. Ewes should be able to see other ewes and their lambs. Our lambing barn currently uses 15-20 lamb jugs. When ewe and lambs are well bonded, they're moved to small misxing (socialization) pens with groups of 3-4 ewes and their lambs, then after a few days to larger pens.

We also use steel panels that use drop pins to connect lamb jug panels. In the U.S. the best company is Sydell Sheep & Goat Equipment. We have steel panels that are 30 years old and they still work like new.


Woolpatch;475674 wrote: Hi all,

I want to tag my lambs so that I know which mum they came from and which are twins and triplets. My girls don't let me get near them so the only chance for tagging I have is in the yards. I've waited until now so the lambs are robust enough not to get crushed in there however once in the yards there is no way of telling which lambs are which! Even in the paddocks it's hard to tell since they all play together and it's only really when they are drinking that I can tell which lambs belong to who.

Short of using a paintball gun on them when they're feeding :) I can't think of an easy way to do it, any ideas welcome!

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