Newborn Lamb Photos, and the Birth Process of Lambs
Learn how sheep give birth as we follow the story of Patsy sheep, a ewe who had twins on March 17, 2013, St Patrick's Day. See pictures of the lambing process.
Female sheep are called ewes, they are ready to breed at five months age, but it is better to wait until they are at least 8 months of age.
Sheep are pregnant for 5 months so most people breed them in the fall for spring lambs.
This sheep is Patsy, she is a Jacob x Barbado (hair sheep). She actually has 4 horns which she gets from her Jacob side, and shed out in strange way due to being a wool sheep crossed with a hair sheep.
in this picture above you can see that Patsy is ready to have her lambs, note the amniotic sack hanging down with fluid. Prior to this Patsy had only nibbled her breakfast before wandering away from the other sheep to find a private place to give birth. These are two signs to watch for in a pregnant sheep (not eating, and leaving the flock). My wife brought Patsy back into the barn and left her alone for a while. It was roughly 11:00 in the morning when this picture (above) was taken.
In Patsy it is hard to see because of her patchy wool, but sheep also get a sunk in look just in front of their hips as the lambs prepare to be born. Their udders form weeks in advance of lambing.
Roughly An Hour Later
Patsy is an experienced ewe and has had lambs before.
An hour after the first picture my wife checked on her and found her straining. In the second it took for my wife to turn around and latch the barn door shut, Patsy had already pushed out her lamb. She stood up almost right away to lick the lamb off.
At this time my wife wanted to move them to a place away from the back barn door (a cold breeze was blowing). After allowing Patsy to lick the lamb for a few minutes my wife got a towel and carried the lamb to a stall. She dried the lamb off a bit more, especially the ears (it was - 15C and frost bite can be a really problem for wet lambs).
My wife left Patsy alone for a while, as we expected a twin, but know that certain ewes prefer to be left alone.
Less than an Hour Later
Less than an hour later my wife returned to check on Patsy and as expected Patsy had another lamb, also a male, but larger than the first lamb.
My wife gave Patsy a big bucket of water and some hay for later.
A few hours later the placenta was shed and my wife added more straw to the stall.
We find we have easier lambing because we breed our ewes to smaller breeds of sheep. Hair sheep, such as Katahdin and Doper sheep tend to produce smaller lambs than many of the wool breeds and as such a Katahdin x Dorper ram was used here.
It would not be good to breed a hair sheep, such as a Katahdin, to a larger wool breed, or you might expect more complications when lambing.