Who can resist a baby animal. I don’t care what kind of a baby animal it is (exception snakes), they just make people smile. Babies are truly little miracles and we are blessed with a lot of miracles in our barns and fields. Enjoy these Tuesday Ewesday facts centered around lambing.
Ewes cycle 14-19 days during breeding season.We lamb most of our ewes in the fall. We do breed some for winter lambs and spring lambs. Dorsets are typically fertile and can breed for babies multiple times a year. So some of our ewes could (if we wanted) have lambs twice in each year.
The gestation of a baby lamb is 145-155 days.
Most ewes will lamb on their own completely unassisted. On occasion we do have to assist in the lambing (giving birth) process.
Ewes will have on average 1-3 lambs each delivery. They can have up to 4 but it is not common. If I could request how many lambs a mamma would have it would be twins. Ewes typically can produce enough milk for two babies and raise them just fine. This is not to say a ewe can not raise triplets or quads on their own but it is not typical.
The first milk the ewe makes is colostrum. Babies exclusively only need their mothers milk for the first few weeks of life. Lambs will begin to taste or stick their nose in water sometimes in their first week, because they see their mamma drink. We allow access to what we call “creep feed” in the first 2 weeks. The creep feeding area is for lambs only and gives them access to a protein pellet that will begin to help them grow and get all the nutrients they need. They are still nursing from their mothers.
Baby lambs are born with tails. We band or dock tails in their first week to two weeks of life.
Lambs are typically weaned from their mothers milk at the age of 2-3 months.