Birthing and lambing

Preparing for lambing

  • iodine for dipping navels
  • bucket/soap
  • rubber gloves or protective sleeves if preferrd
  • clean area for lambing(see picture)
  • birth records
  • GYN gel or lubricant for pulling lambs
  • two small ropes or cable which can be used to hold on to lambs
  • any other tools preferred for pulling lambs
  • Betadine for cleaning equipment used in assisting births
  • anitibiotics for the ewe
  • head gates
  • bedding
  • phone number of veterinarian if needed
  • records of breeding and due dates. If ewes have been pregnancy checked, the expected number of lambs

What signs to look for

  • separation from other ewes
  • acts more territorial than usual
  • pawing the ground
  • restlessness, nervousness and acting uncomfortable
  • udders filling out
  • increased breathing rate
  • sides caving in and ewe “drops”
  • expelling the mucus plug
  • water breaking
  • straining to push lamb
  • expellation of the mucosal plug
  • straining and pushing
  • cervical dilation
  • passing of the water bag (delivery should be 30-60 minutes from now)
  • arrival of lambs (twins should take at most 2 hours to be delivered but no longer)
  • expellation of afterbirth (usually occurs within a few hours but may take as long as a day. If not passed after two days assistance may be needed

How to pull a lamb

  • tight birth: small pelvis, big lamb
  • one leg back
  • head only
  • rear legs first
  • two lambs coming together
    • four feet, two heads
    • four feet, one head
    • four feet, no heads
    • one forward , one backward
  • no legs or head
  • four feet, single lamb

How to prepare for post lambing

  • individual stalls/pens
  • clean, dry bedding
  • fresh water/feed
  • strip plugs from teats
  • iodine the navels
  • help slow lambs nurse
  • place lamb in the corner so it isn’t stepped on
  • birth dates
  • birth weights
  • dystocia scores
  • mothering abilities
  • lamb vigor

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