Lambing season is one of my favorite things to look forward to. This year, the entire month of April was lambing season, and we have welcomed 56 babies so far. Going into the season, we had 69 ewes from our flock that were expecting. Typically, sheep can bear one to three offsprings at a time. So, we were looking at an estimated 69 to over 100 lambs by the end of the season.
Sheep give birth after about 5 months of gestation. As it gets closer to the time of giving birth, you can begin to see a change in the ewe’s behavioral pattern. They tend to move more out of sync with the flock, paw the ground more, and erratically change from lying down to standing up and vice versa. As the birthing season comes closer, it is very important to keep an eye on the expectant moms as they are prone to experiencing birthing issues. This year, since some of our ewes were not exactly sheared in time for lambing season, there were additional issues that we anticipated and had to attend to.
On our farm, we set up cameras all around the barn so that we could keep an eye on them. They tend to find a quiet place away from the flock to go give birth. So, we had to be watching them 24/7 to make sure they are okay and that the birthing process goes smoothly. Someone is usually there to help them right away if they have any issues. For example, there can be issues with how the baby is presenting. Typically, they present with front feet and head but sometimes their head can be turned back, or they can have one or both legs back. This is where we need to intervene. We can assist them by bringing the head into position or bringing the legs forward, so they can come out easily.
We’ve had one ewe experience birthing issues, and luckily I was already nearby at the time. The ewe was having a hard time pushing, and I noticed the lamb was coming out head first instead of legs and head together. With my son’s help, I managed to help by pulling the baby out. There was another instance, which was similar, but I started to panic in fear of harming the ewe and her baby. I called my husband at a football game, and he was able to get me to calm down and do what I needed to do. Using a snare-like tool, I managed to align the head and legs together and pull the baby out after a long birthing process. The lamb also got fluid in its lungs, which caused him to have some breathing problems, but it came around. She had another lamb as well, who came out backwards. I managed to pull that one out backwards. I ended up naming those two Thumper and Bambi. In these instances, most times, the mom wants nothing to do with the lamb perhaps due to the trauma of giving birth. I had to be very gentle so that I don’t make things worse. Luckily in these situations, the ewes owned their babies.
When the lambs are born, we put them in pens in another barn to get acquainted with each other. It’s like our nursing area. While they’re there, we monitor them to make sure that both mom and newborn are okay before we put them in the barn with all the others. For the ewes that were not sheared, nursing became a challenge for the babies. So, we had to supervise them to make sure that they’re being fed. Of course, the ewes get super protective of their lambs like other mammals. So, I have to be careful when approaching them.
Although it can be tiring, I enjoy lambing season for the excitement and just witnessing the birthing process as well as the motherly bonds. This year, like every other lambing season, we named all the lambs. This time, we decided to name them after Disney characters. Some years ago, I named them after African countries. Last year’s batch was named after noodles/pastas.
We’re happy that all our lambs are doing well, and we know that they will each have their own personalities much like our felted sheep babies. If you want to expand your needle felted flock, we’re offering a combined sheep and lamb making lesson within our needle felting academy. Whether you’re new to needle felting or not, we’ll provide you with the support and direction you need to thoroughly enjoy the process. We also provide you with the right materials and tools, plus a few time-saving secrets.
If you’re ready to make beautifully felted sheep, lamb and other animals with their own style and personality, join our academy, today!