Preparing for the lambing period can be a cumbersome task especially if you are a new farmer. Below we look at the different signs that can notify you when your ewe is about to give birth.
Ewe Udder Before Lambing
Before an ewe can bring a new born lamb into the world, it shows a bit of some signs which can help you prepare for the whole process. The majority of the signs can be seen from the ewe’s udder. Below are the various signs you can use to tell that the lambing process is fast approaching.
Ewe Udder Development
For starters, ewes develops an udder 4 weeks prior to lambing. When the udder develops it begins to grow in size each day. In order for you to know that the udder has developed you need to constantly check the ewes on a daily basis. You can do this by reaching under them whilst they are eating. When you feel the first signs of udder development you should mark the date on your calendar. This will help you calculate when your ewe is most likely to give birth.
Approximately 10 days before lambing, the ewe’s udder becomes engorged, swollen and slightly red. The teats also become firm and this is a sign that colostrum and milk are building up in the teats. 24 hours before the ewe gives birth, the teats become bigger and the udder will seem tighter.
Other Signs Of Lambing In Ewe’s
While development of the udder is one of the most important signs that can be used to tell when a cow is about to go into labor, there are actually other signs you can use. Below we look at other signs you can use to determine whether your ewe is going to give birth.
Before an ewe begins lambing, its loin appears sunken. This sign usually appears 1 to 2 days before the lamb is born. The loin appears sunken mainly because the lamb would have moved into a position close to the birth canal. So if you notice that your ewe appears to have a sunken loin you need to start preparing for a new lamb.
Loss Of Appetite
When an ewe is about to give birth, it usually loses its appetite. So if you have a pregnant ewe and it starts refusing to eat its food, there is a good chance that it is preparing for lambing.
Another common sign of ewe’s before lamping is that they isolate themselves. This usually happens at least 24 hours before they give birth. They also start to paw the ground when in isolation. The reasons why ewes paw the ground is so that they can create a welcoming area for the lamb.
Visibility Of Water Bag
When an ewe is about to start lambing, it passes out a water bag. This water bag will remain intact until the lamb is born. Usually, when ewe, passes out a water bag, the lamb will be born within 20 to 30 minutes. If after 30 minutes, the lamb is not born, it might mean your ewe is having complications and might need human intervention.
Another sign which you can use to tell that your ewe is to about to start the lambing stage is vaginal discharge. This usually occurs several weeks before lambing begins. The vaginal discharge will be slightly colored or clear.
How To Prepare For Lambing
If you know that your ewe is pregnant you should always be prepared to receive the new born. Here are some of the things you can do to ensure that your ewe and the lamb remain healthy.
- Six weeks before lambing, you should increase or boost the nutrition of your ewe. This helps to ensure that it can endure the labor process and also so that the lamb can come out strong and healthy.
- Shear the ewe before the lamb is born.
- Ensure that the ewe receives its booster immunizations so that it does not succumb to any diseases before or during the birthing process.
- Clean the barn and set up lambing pens.
- Ensure that you have the correct temperature for the lambs and the ewes.
- Place proper feeders in the ban.
- Ensure that you have colostrum just in case there are complications during the labor process.
How To Help A Sheep Give Birth
Whilst sheep can naturally give birth on their own, sometimes they face complications and might need human intervention. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to help your sheep to give birth then here are a few guidelines.
Restrain The Ewe
If you notice that your sheep needs help giving birth, the first thing you need to do is to restrain it. You can use the ewe restrainer to get it in place. This is because when a sheep is giving birth it can start being violent which can result in you getting hurt. So always make sure you restrain it.
Assist The Ewe
Once you have restrained the sheep, you need put on sleeves and use lube so that you can check whether the sheep has dilated enough. Pull the lamb out gently making sure that you do not hurt it. Once you have taken out the lamb, you should place it in front of the ewe.
How Long Do Ewes Bag Up Before Lambing?
Ewes bag up for about 10 days before lambing. When ewes are said to have bagged up, it means that their udders would have grown in size and they will be now firm and the teats would also have swollen a little bit.
How Do You Know When An Ewe Is About To Give Birth?
When an ewe is about to give birth, the udder usually grows. It can also have a sunken loin and it can isolate itself before giving birth.
Ewe udder before lambing usually grows bigger in size. So if you have a pregnant sheep and the udder starts growing make sure you start making preparations for the lamb.