Its tupping time at Fifesmallholder
We have been a bit later putting our boys in with our girls this year. There has been two bad winters in a row previously and an April lambing will hopefully mean that the lambs get a better start in life. We do not bring our sheep in for lambing, but keep them out in the lambing field and bring them in once lambing is immenent or they have just lambed. We do not have a large lambing shed and have found that this method means that shelter is given when they need it the most. However, if the weather is bad then we need to make sure that the pregnant ewes have sufficient shelter and feed.
It is a good idea to make sure that both boys (known as a tup or ram) and girls (known as a ewe) are in peak condition.
Flush The Ewes
To improve the chances of twins, you can help the ewe produce more eggs at ovulation. To do this you can put the ewes on fresh grazing for a few days/weeks along with a mineral lick, this will give the ewe a boost in condition. Usually resulting in an increase in eggs ovulated… which hopefully means twins or triplets.
How Often Is A Female Sheep Fertile?
A ewe will come in season every 21 days until she has conceived. I advise that you put a marking raddle/harness on your Ram. Every 21 days you should change the colour of the crayon. Doing this will allow you take note of what period the ewe will lamb in and help you organise things (holidays, help etc).
How long is a female sheep or ewe pregnant for?
The ewes gestation period is typically 147 days. Allow 145-149 days and you will be safe. A common saying is if you put your tup in on 5th November you can expect lambs from the 1st April.
* Tip – make sure this years ewe lambs are well away from all this mullarkey – otherwise you might end up with a teenage mother*
This Is What They Have Been Waiting All Year For
“Make sure your ram/tup is in good condition at tupping time”
Your tups need to be firing on all cylinders! Peak fitness is essential, the most common reason for a lazy tup will be poor feet. Keep them trimmed and tidy. We have two proven tups (producing good healthy lambs last year) but it is always good to be prepared for any eventuality by having an heir and a spare. They keep each other company throughout the summer, and mean that I have a mix of genes in my lambs, a backup in case one of them gets sick, and a guarantee that at least one of them will perform.
For me lambing is the best time on the smallholding and I look forward to it every year.