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Lambing - Spring 2024

Wild Rose Farm Spring Lambs, Lambing 2024, Purebred Valais Blacknose Sheep
First to lamb at Wild Rose Farm are the Valais Blacknose, March 2024

Mid March here at Wild Rose Farm and there’s a familiar anticipation of lambing. It’s a feeling of “rightness” like this is what ought to be happening. No extra appointments are made, no trips, no anything really. Just be here and be ready. New strong iodine for navels and scrubbing the iodine cup. New docking elastic bands. Making sure my lamb scale and sleeve work okay. We’ve got all our frozen extra colostrum that we saved from last year all together in the freezer in case needed. 

The Valais Blacknose are not prolific milkers but many of the Wensleydales are very generous with their colostrum so we always collect some extra as we can. Since we have cameras in the barn we can usually be there to strip the waxy teat plug and then give the lamb a couple ounces (60cc is a nice amount) right off the bat. It warms them up and gives them energy to get going. I’ll milk the ewe out into a wide mouth jar, draw up 60cc into a syringe, sit the lamb up between my legs, and stick my index finger in its mouth. Usually the lamb will begin to suck on my finger and when it does I put the syringe in the tip of the corner of its mouth and start giving the colostrum. Many will begin sucking so hard I hardly have to press the syringe. 

Those that have no sucking response at all I will use a stomach tube and give the 2 ounces that way. If you don’t have one, look on Premier 1 lambing supplies and look up “lamb stomach tube”. I’m sure you can find a video on how to tube a lamb. Don’t be afraid to try. Getting warmth and energy in a slow lamb on a cold night is paramount. So navels have been dipped, colostrum has been given, and then we always check their eyes to ensure there is no entropion (curling of the lower lid).

First time moms can be about 45-50% of twins or singles (75% twins) so we’re always watching for the second lamb to come. How long do we wait before checking? That’s hard to explain in words really. Not only lambing for 40+ years, but as a large and small annual net delivering many over the years it can get to be a “feeling”. Also just looking at the ewe – especially if she’s lambed before and she’s as big as a house and only one is out and an hour + later there’s nothing, I’ll go in and check her. Those front feet, legs and nose have to be coming together to be born. If you even go in and feel 2 feet and a tail, just pull and they’ll come out backwards just fine. 


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