And it's a bad start for us :,(

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6 years 8 months ago - 6 years 8 months ago #534519 by LongRidge
If the ewe knows you then she is less likely to desert her lamb, so sheep that know who you are, even if they are not tame, will not run away as far as if a new person comes into the paddock. I try to ensure the ewe is between me and the lamb, which means some circling around to keep them both together. When I have to catch a new born lamb I split them, catch the lamb, then show it to the ewe by getting as close to the ewe as I can, put the lamb on the ground, and hold onto it's tail. Sometimes holding on to the tail makes the lamb bleat, which attracts a good mother back.
All our ewes are tagged, and also marked with how many lambs they are supposed to give birth to. So when I do a lambing beat I take a spray bottle of iodine, a spray bottle of raddle, and a plastic bread bag. The afterbirth goes into the bread bag, the iodine gets sprayed on the navel, and the raddle get sprayed on the lamb/s. When I get back inside I write down the ewes number, the sex of the lamb/s, and the mark. If the ewe is supposed to have had more lambs than I have found I do a paddock search, and then if the lamb is more than about an hour old then the ewe gets an internal check.
I also try to get the ewe and lamb/s out of the "Lambing Paddock" ( ie "shedding off") as soon as possible. This is very important when a ewe that is close to lambing has decided that she wants to steal a newly born lamb. So I catch all the lambs and walk backwards out of the paddock, showing the ewe her lambs all the way out. When I have got them out of the paddock a put a small pile of sheep pellets down beside the lamb/s and walk away, checking that the lamb is not following me.
Last edit: 6 years 8 months ago by LongRidge.

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6 years 8 months ago #534524 by kate28
Hi, from a local :)
You will learn as you go and get better each season. We get bottle babies each season, either the weather got to them & found flat or mum rejected them or various other reasons. Last year I decided I would do some DIY improvements to our woolen lamb jackets & spent ages cutting out & hand stitching on a piece of feed sack to make them waterproof. I was so proud of my effort, excitedly took it out & put it on the first lamb that didnt look wonderful in bad weather, only to find mum was then terrified of the coat, started attacking the poor lamb & wouldnt let it anywhere near her until I took the coat off it. Tried again after she accepted lamb again & same thing started again - Fail !
On another occasion partner intervened lambing a first time mother (possibly a bit to hasty) to have her reject it. After 3 days of confining them & trying to get her to accept it, we gave up and hand raised it. She was a poor mother the following year with hand raised babies again & escaped culling this season! so we will soon see what happens this lambing. One year we never crutched them & had a bit more trouble. Our first year we buggered up our vaccinating schedule & had a lot of deaths. This year I have said we will NOT be hand raising any male lambs as we now have one useless weather hogget in the paddock who is a bit of a snob most of the time but who we are not allowed to eat. We are getting a little collection of hand raised females too

Dont be disheartened. My father always says "when you have livestock, you have dead stock"

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6 years 8 months ago #534548 by LongRidge
You are lucky (????) to only have one pet wether. We have three from last year and two from 2015, which are definitely not going to be eaten. As a generalisation, bottlefeds don't live as long as ewe reared sheep, but Lucky was born in 2004 and had 8 sets of lambs, but is in the easy paddock and has not had lambs for the last 3 years. Godfrey lived quite a long time too.

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6 years 8 months ago #534691 by Follyfootfarm
And not getting much better! Another set of twin lambs (a ewe and a ram) died last week not long after birth, we didn't have time to do anything this time. They looked a good size but neither of them even stood up. Not sure if mother didn't do her job properly at the beginning cleaning them up etc. or if something wrong with them. Born in the afternoon on a reasonable day, not too cold and not raining.

And today a neighbour called husband to say she had a lamb over her side of the fence. Hubby located an afterbirth nearby but no mother around. Lamb probably born early this morning or overnight as afterbirth not fresh fresh. Lamb has plenty of life in it but we can't work out who the mother is! None of our ewes (we only have 6) showed any interest in it when he put it back in our paddock. Can't even tell from udders etc. as some still largish from lost lambs and some due to lamb soon. Put this one (a ewe lamb) in our wood shed so it is warm and dry and have started on bottle feeding colostrum powder which it has taken to well. Hopefully we can keep this one!

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6 years 8 months ago #534697 by LongRidge
If the lambs are yellow that is an indication of a difficult birth. Lambs that are spindly are an indication of lack of iodine, and usually the males are worse affected than the females. Another cause of weak or dead lambs is lack of selenium. And then the twin deaths might have been due to abortion caused by Toxoplasmosis and/or Campylobacter. Over the years we have had so many problems with these diseases that nothing gets mated unless it is up to date with it's vaccinations. But ToxoVax vaccine is a real bitch to administer.
It is too late to administer vaccines against Toxo and Campy, but I would administer selenised 5-in-1 urgently and drench the ewes with potassium iodide dissolved in water. Ask your vet if they have a selenised 5-in-1 injector that you could borrow, and if they can sell you 50 g of KI and tell you how to dilute it.
If they cannot tell you how to dissolve it, I can work that out for you.
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6 years 8 months ago #534703 by Follyfootfarm
Thank you Longbridge. We did vaccinate the ewes about a month ago with 5 in 1. Lambs looked good colour. If we have anymore unexplained deaths I think we will see about an autopsy, not sure of the cost but might be worth knowing what is going on.

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6 years 8 months ago #534722 by muri
Follyfoot, what breed of sheep do you have. not all breeds are equal in the breeding stakes.

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6 years 8 months ago #534723 by kate
Check out this article....

We lost around 30% of our expected kids last year due to toxoplasmosis. This year we vaccinated all the does before mating.

I hope the rest of your lambing goes better.

Web Goddess

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6 years 8 months ago #534724 by Follyfootfarm
Muri, we have Wiltshires, supposed to be good mothers! Although the ones we bought seem to not be following any of the usual Wiltshire characteristics, ours have bad feet and two didn't fully shed summer just gone. May have to have a cull and start again. At this stage i am of the feeling that i will keep any of the remaining ewes if they prove themselves to be able to have babies and look after them and get rid of the rest. On the plus side our abandoned lamb is still doing well, feeding well and has heaps of life in her!

Thank you for the advice Kate.

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6 years 8 months ago #534730 by LongRidge
I would give them one more chance in case it is Toxo that has caused the problem. If it was Toxo, those ewes will now be immune. Because you don't know that, it is worthwhile to vax everyone anyway. We try to find out from our vet when a big farmer is doing his flock, in January here, and fake our 5 or 6 ewes over to his shed on the day he is injecting. Made up Toxovax has about a 2 hour life :-(.

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6 years 8 months ago #534752 by John M
That's really disappointing Follyfootfarm. We get a couple of disappointments each year, but generally good overall. I have tried in vain to find a local farmer doing toxo to either take my maiden's to or get a small number of doses. I normally only bring a couple through each year, but is was 11 this season. I had one slip twins a few weeks ago...

I had to assist one birth so far this year. Experienced ewe too, so not sure why. Lambed successfully previous years.

I lost a black ram lamb on its second night. In a paddock with good shelter, lying cast in a walking rut beside the fence line where mum and sibling were camped out, so either got cast, or potentially it got lain on.

I find it rare a mum neglects a lamb, the only one I have sold this year was a triplet to allow mum to better raise twins, but I didn't remove it till day 3 and mum cried for a day for it.

Hopefully things improve for you.

Breeding black Wiltshire shedding sheep.

Full shedding, easy care, good feet, easy lambing and good mothering is what it takes to make the breeding cut!
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6 years 8 months ago #534758 by muri
On the whole, when you buy sheep from other people, you are often buying their offcasts - sheep that didnt mother their lambs well, have poor feet, dont shed in the case of wilshires etc.
If you buy privately, you can ask questions of the seller but if you buy at markets you cant find anything out about their history.
It can take you several years to get to where you want to be with sheep
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6 years 8 months ago #534760 by Follyfootfarm
Thank you everyone. Update the single ewe lamb that was abandoned is doing very well, full of life and drinking well. Yesterday morning looked out the window and saw a mum with another lamb and what looked like a dead one several feet away. Husband went out and the 'dead' one was still alive just cold and muddy and mum not really taking an interest in it. Learning from experience, bought the 'dead' one inside and warmed him up. Watching the ewe with the other lamb could see that it wasn't drinking, another one that couldn't work out where to get the milk. The mum was being very good with it and trying to help, lamb sat down and she was trying to push it to get up. Again learning from experience we decided to get straight in and help. Bought the second lamb in (a ewe lamb) and fed them both a bit from a bottle. Then got mum in to the yards and lay her down and tried to latch them on. Had some success, they both got a little bit of colostrum from her. It was a nice sunny day so left them in the yards together. However they still couldn't work it out for themselves so tried another couple of times throughout the morning/early afternoon, every couple of hours. Even though the lambs seemed to be doing everything right, looking around her, bunting her etc. they didn't seem to take any more interest in the teat. Last time we tried mum was very sore on one side (mastitis?) and only a few drips of colostrum were coming out when we tried to milk her. As it was getting later in the afternoon and husband going away for 4 days so wouldn't be around to help we decided to bite the bullet and bottle feed them. So now i have a lamb creche in the garage with 3 bottle fed lambs. :( Two more ewes possibly to lamb as well. SOOO hoping i don't get more i have to bottle feed!
Just feeling like a complete failure on the sheep rearing. Thinking maybe of turning the place into a chicken farm as have great success with my 3 ex battery girls. :)

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6 years 8 months ago #534761 by abycat
Sorry to hear about your problems :-(
We have Wiltshires too and are in the Manawatu. This is our first breeding season but I am not sure if either of our 2 tooth ewes are pregnant.
Can I suggest going to a good breeder and purchasing a couple of fully shed ewe raised ewe lambs in January/February. It's probably a good way to start again if you are having mothering or udder issues.
I have one good quality fully shedding ewe who is currently 1 year old that isn't friendly that I will look at selling depending on grass levels.
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6 years 8 months ago #534762 by Follyfootfarm
Thank you abycat. Yes that sounds like a great idea. Can you let me know if and when you are planning on selling?

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