We have been lambing this week in sub-zero temps at which is not the norm for us at Aldenwood Farm. It’s slightly different in that we hustle the ewe into the prepared “jug” just prior to delivering. In the other seasons, they lamb in the field, we go out and carry the lambs, low to the ground, so ewe will follow, into the sheep shed. There, we have already gotten the jugs ready (about 6’x6′) with straw, a water bucket attached to the side, some hay, and a mineral pan. We have dry rags ready to dry the lamb if needed after allowing the ewe to try to clean it herself.
We try to not interfere as much as possible, and observe the lambs to make sure they start nursing. A good indication that they are receiving milk is that they will wag their tails. After confirming they are nursing, we’ll leave them alone for awhile. We generally dip the cord in some gentle iodine with a paper/ disposable cup. Do not use the same cup for every lamb (or drying rag) to avoid confusing the scents.
The ewes and lambs stay in the jugs for a couple of days during warm weather but longer when it’s cold or if the lambs are smaller. We make sure to clean up and dispose of the placenta to avoid attracting predators.
When I first started lambing, I made an exhaustive lambing kit. It included NG feeding tubes, and a host of other things that dry-rotted and gathered dust. The only thing I keep on-hand now are bottles, a bag of colostrum, and lamb formula. However, I will add, we live right down the road from a farm supply. Also, a couple of weeks before the lambs are due, the ewes get 2 ml of CDT, sub-q, for over-eating disease and tetanus. The lambs receive CDT at 4, 8 and 12 weeks.