Deworm the sheep (tips on the Maintenance page). Decide on a supplement and
protein plan for the winter.
We have slowed our breeding program, but if you are interested in breeding,
October would be the time to begin increasing the ewes ration, to increase flushing
in a natural way. Our three wethers get the girls in the mood for the rams, and let
us know when the girls are cycling. Breeding begins. We usually put our breeding
groups together toward the end of October/early November (This all depends on
when you want your lambs). Keep notes on the breedings you witness. Mark them
on the calendar, and count about 142-148 days. This is when you can expect
your first lambs. Having an expected due date is very helpful.
Check the Winter Check List (listed below).
Sheep are removed from their breeding groups. Make sure they have plenty of
food and clean water. This is our rainy season, so we try to stay on top of things
like mud and mucking out the barn. Make sure your sheep have a dry place to get
out of the weather. This place doesn't necessarily have to be warm (warmth helps
breed bacteria). It should be dry and have good ventilation, but be free from
Take care when re-introducing rams after breeding. One good way is to put the
rams in a small pen (just big enough for them to lay down). Leave them in this pen
for a couple of days. This size pen prevents them from doing real damage to each
other. If they had more space, they'd be able to back up and really injure each
other. After a couple of days, they'll start to smell like each other, and won't be too
interested in fighting. You can then increase the size of their pen. Follow this
pattern until you have them in the size pen you are planning on keeping them in
for the remainder of the ewes' gestation period.
Separate any ewes that need extra feed (my older girls need a bit more).
Rams and wethers stay together in a smaller paddock/pasture, and ewes have run
of the good pasture. Rams tend to be the fattest ones on our farm, so we find that
limiting their access to pasture helps them avoid being overweight.
Start making arrangements with your shearer to shear the ewes at about 4 weeks
before the first possible lambing date. Start late gestation supplements about 7
weeks before lambs are due. Give ewes 5cc Cod Liver Oil.
Have the flock sheared. Check the condition of your ewes and separate them
according to their nutritional needs. Remember to de-worm and give annual
vaccinations. March first I check my "Spring Check List" (listed below).
Prepare for lambing: make jugs, and make sure you have iodine, wormer,
colostrum, Nutri-Drench, and any other vital lambing equipment. Please see the
Breeding/Lambing page for more info. I de-worm every ewe once she's given birth
to prevent an explosion of the worm population during her most vulnerable time. I
also make sure I trim the ewe's feet before releasing her from the jug.
Vaccinate lambs at 6 weeks and again at 8 weeks. Make sure you check the flock
for worms throughout the good weather. Check membranes and do fecal exams.
Once lambing is finished, we turn the rams and wethers back into the flock, and
everyone spends the summer together, making good use of the pasture. We can
usually stop feeding hay altogether from June through September.
Prepare for summer (list below).
Using the list below, you can help sheep avoid heat stress. Make sure they have
shade and shelter, fresh and cold water, and access to minerals and vitamin E.
Lambs that are sold leave the farm. We wean the lambs by separating the dams.
The dams' feed ration is lessened to decrease milk production. Weaning lambs
helps the ewes start their estrus cycle in the fall. Trim feet and check for worm
loads. Get in touch with your shearer again and schedule a time for fall shearing.
We separate the rams from the rest of the flock. We leave the wethers in with the
ewes so we can tell when the ewes start to cycle. Give the ewes 5cc Cod Liver Oil.
Check the condition of the flock. You want to make sure the flock is in good
condition before breeding begins. Shear the ewes and wethers. We leave our
rams in full fleece for the winter. Once they being rut, they won't put any energy
into producing fleece until after breeding is over. I also let my older girls keep their
fall fleece throughout the winter.
Spring Check List
(I check this list on March 1)
Purchase/check supply of:
Nipples and clean soda bottles
Extra syringes (large for tubing, small for shots)
Tags and applicator
Frozen or refrigerated colostrum
Tattooer, ink and digits
old (clean) towels
Make heating box for chilled lambs
Prepare lambing area with jugs, heat lamps, water buckets, new straw.
Have sheep sheared 4 weeks before lambing and worm/trim.
Summer Check List
(I check this list on June 1)
Check supply of water-soluable vitamin E (we purchase it from Pipestone Vet
Purchase Probios, and Selenium E Gel.
Put Vitamin E in the flock's water supply on hot days.
Check supply of Soybean meal and mix 1/3 with mineral supply and 1/3 with Kelp
Check Kelp supply.
Have Livestock Guardian Dog (Sea) groomed, annual shots, treat with Frontline
for flea and tick season.
Winter Check List
( I check this list on November 1)
Water heaters to all water tanks (even if you don't think you need it right now...it's
easier to do it now than when the bucket is frozen)
Check light bulbs in the barn and buy extra
Purchase extra spark plugs for the farm ATV - during extreme cold they seem to
Prepare a stall/pen with a heat lamp, light, and water-heater for emergency care.
Purchase an extra heat bulb.
Purchase Sweet PDZ or another stall refresher to help the barn and shelters stay
Purchase and save extra bags of all of your supplements/sweet feeds
Purchase a protein block for the ewes