Hello all. I'm new here but have went through a lot of post in the last three days and have already learned a lot. I'm retired and have decided to raise a few sheep, mostly for my own use.
I have bought a reg. St Croix ram and 4 Katahdin/ Dropper ewes. All are young and healthy. The ram is 16months and the ewes are 8 months and I believe them to be bred but not sure.
I'm leaning toward keeping the ram away from the ewes so to regulate their lambing in early spring.
At this point I don't really want to deal with two rams so my question is can I put a young weather with him without the ram abusing him?
Also they are well trained to my electric five wire fence and would that keep him in when the ewes are in?
Also in trying to prep for the lambs arrival,i have no ideal on due date but thinking Sept, how far ahead of them lambing will the ewes bag up and what are indications that they are getting close to dropping the lambs.
Your tup should be fine with a wether in with him just make sure that they either both have horns or both don't. If they don't know each other already then make up a very small pen that you put them in for a couple of hours. They shouldn't be able to move around at all. This way they will get each others smell on them and won't be able to injure each other. When you let them out make sure the ewes are not nearby so that the tup doesn't feel the need to compete with the wether for them.
With your ewes they can vary enormously as to how long in advance they bag up. First timers may be just a few days, some older ewes or very milky first timers it can be a month in advance.
The main indication for dropping the lambs is their behaviour. Look for pawing the ground, restlessness, some will go off their food. If you can get close enough to see the vulva will be puffy and darker coloured and you may see a discharge.
It is possible to get your ewes scanned with an ultrasound scanner which would tell you if they are pregnant and, depending on the stage that they are at, may be able to tell you roughly how far along they are. In the UK there are specialist scanners who travel around or vets sometimes do it.
A ram will be fine with a wether once they have worked out their pecking order, the ram will almost always be the dominant sheep. When I add another ram or wether to an existing ram flock, I will then move the herd around for 10 minutes or so with a herding dog so that their attention is kept focused on the threat of the dog rather than on the new arrivals until they have had time to coalesce into a flock. I don't have an electric fence, but a field fence won't keep a ram out for long if there are in-heat ewes teasing him on the other side of the fence, they can tear it up in less than half an hour, but horse (no-climb) fencing will keep them in. A horned ram can even batter a pole gate into a pretzel to get to a ewe.
The best way to keep a ram(s) separated from a flock of ewes or ewes with a ram is to keep them at least one field away from the ewes. Alternatively add an additional fence parallel to the existing fence line, so the two fence lines separated by at least 6 feet. This way the in-heat ewes can't press their butts up against the fence where the ram can sniff them and be goaded into making strenuous effects to get into their field.
A ewe about to give birth will often move off from the rest of the flock a few hours before giving birth. If you feed your sheep, you can also control the time of birth by when you feed them.
If you feed them at 8am, then almost all of the ewes will give birth between 6am and 1pm. Doing this, I haven't had a night birth for several years. If you feed in the late afternoon, then most of the ewes will pop during the night.
posted 4 years ago
Thanks for the replies.
A lot of good info that will help this newbie.
Interesting info on feeding verse birth times. I had heard that before and will try it out. I mostly pasture feed but do feed a little grain mostly to keep them coming to me and moving when needed.
Will be looking for a couple of young wethers to keep my ram company along with ewes when separated from flock.
Once again thanks
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