Tag Archives: gestation

Of ultrasounds and due dates

For most of our shepherding years, we’ve had our ewes ultrasounded after breeding. When I first heard of ultrasounds for sheep, I thought back to my pregnancy ultrasounds, which were rather expensive. I was fairly certain that we couldn’t afford to do the same for our sheep — and have it done on our farm, […]

Milk fever, Tums, and sick sheep

I got a call the other day from a good friend and fellow shepherdess who had a ewe who recently delivered a large lamb and, soon after, became weak and disoriented, just lying in the straw and showing little interest in her lamb. My friend had recognized the symptoms as those of “milk fever,” more […]

A rough start to lambing

As in everyone’s life, we shepherds have experiences that don’t go the way we hope. Maybe a lamb gets pneumonia and dies, or a ewe has a particularly difficult labor. Attentive shepherds will look back over what happened, trying to glean what went wrong and how we could have achieved a better outcome. We know […]

A shearing date

For nearly 15 years, our shearing date has been the Saturday of the last full weekend of January — that would be January 27th this year. Our shearing date has been carefully selected based on the seasons and the production stage of the flock — late enough in gestation to increase the birth weights of […]

Bred ewe lambs

At some point, nearly all shepherds find themselves in a situation where — due to planning or an “oops” — one or more of the ewe lambs end up bred and due to deliver around or before their first birthday. If the situation arises because of an accident, the shepherd may feel a bit of […]

Another question — this one about breeding

The other day I answered a question from a young shepherd about shearing in cold weather, and afterwards he had an additional question on an uncommon but not unheard-of situation regarding ultrasounding. Three of his ewes came up open in the scan, so he decided to put them back in with one of his rams […]

The high-nutrition group and feeding grain

Immediately after breeding, we put a number of ewes into a high-nutrition group, without having any idea of how many lambs they carried — or whether they were even bred. I based my decision on what I saw and on the history of each ewe. Those ewes who looked and felt thin were put into […]

Gabby’s surprise

Gabby, our nearly eleven-year-old Romeldale/CVM ewe, is our oldest sheep. In her younger years, she produced multiple award-winning fleeces and numerous breeding-quality lambs, including four sets of triplets. I kept few of her offspring, since we often sell our very best lambs to customers who are just starting their flocks. We treat our customers the […]