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
Have on-hand heat lamps for use as
Provide one lambing pen per five
Shear ewes if weather and facilities
favor short coat; if not, clip ewe around rump and udder.
Management Tips After
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
Provide external heat source during
extremely cold weather to facilitate drying of lamb
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
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