Lambing time is the busiest season for the sheep producer. The average lamb weighs 9 lb at birth. Single lambs generally weigh 10-12 lb, a twin lamb weighs approximately 9-10 lb, and a triplet averages 5-8 lb. Proper preparation is essential for a successful lambing season.

Management Tips Prior to Lambing:

  • Separate ewes close to lambing and place in separate pasture or lot to facilitate observation.

  • Provide draft-free, dry lambing pens at least 4 ft x 4 ft (5 ft x 5 ft for large breeds) with
    clean bedding.

  • Have on-hand heat lamps for use as needed.

  • Provide one lambing pen per five ewes.

  • Shear ewes if weather and facilities favor short coat; if not, clip ewe around rump and udder.

Management Tips After Lambing:

  • Confine newborn lamb and ewe for one to three days after lambing; then move to mixing pens/lots.

  • Ensure newborn lamb is breathing (remove fetal membranes from nose if needed).

  • Ensure the newborn lamb nurses soon after birth in order to consume colostrum.

  • Inspect ewe's udder (check for mastitis, milk supply, and chapped or cracked teats). If lamb's teeth are injuring udder, file sharp points on teeth with emery cloth or small file.

  • Monitor lamb health and nursing activity.

  • Provide external heat source during extremely cold weather to facilitate drying of lamb post-lambing.

  • Treat navel cord with iodine (7%) or other suitable disinfectant.

  • Place identification on lamb and record birth information.

  • If a lamb is not receiving sufficient milk, graft the lamb onto another ewe (cross-foster) or feed artificially if grafting is not an option.

  • Clean and disinfect lambing pens after use.

  • Dock tails at 7-14 days of age and castrate males not intended for breeding stock (usually done at the same time tails are docked); treat with disinfectant and turn lambs out on clean pasture or house in clean, well-bedded building.


ADM Animal Nutrition, a division of Archer Daniels Midland Company