Vaccinating Ewes

Replacement ewes age 8 months.

The barnyard is noisy with lambs and ewes bawling for each other. The ewes whose lambs I weaned are my breeding group A, older ewes that have been at the farm for a couple of years.

I have a group of young ewes, replacement ewes. These ewes were born on the place. They are bred and scheduled to start lambing March 10. Today is the day to vaccinate, deworm and check feet.

I vaccinate my ewes 4 weeks before lambing to build their immune system and have the immunity stronger in the colostrum at lambing. I also deworm and trim their feet.

I check for body condition as well. Ewes that are too fat will have a harder time birthing the lamb. The last month, the unborn lamb grows fast. When ewes are fed an overabundance amount of food, the lambs will be very large. A ewe that is too thin will not recover from the birthing process as rapidly and not produce the milk needed for better growth on the lamb. Thin ewes will have weak lambs.

Feeding pregnant ewes is a balancing act of providing enough feed for good lamb growth, keeping the ewe in the right condition without getting too fat or thin. The last two months of pregnancy I am checking the ewes’ condition every other day.

I check for condition by placing my hand on the back near the end of the rib cage. I want to barely feel the spine when I apply light pressure. If I can not feel the spine, ewe is too fat. If I feel the spine bone and ribs, ewe is too thin.

A sheep farmer needs to check with a veterinarian where they live. The types of diseases vary according to where the sheep live.

Good luck with your lambing and ewes.

Granny

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