We are rapidly approaching the start of our local county fair. My kids have been showing market lambs for a few years, and this year have added breeding projects. A requirement of our 4H club is for members to create an educational poster. This year Johanna chose the topic “Birth of a Lamb,” and is sharing her research here with her first guest post.
Warning: this post contains some graphic birthing images.
Hi! I’m Johanna and I have been making a 4H poster about the birth of a lamb. I chose this topic because last spring was our first lambing experience on our farm, and it was fascinating. Also, my mom wouldn’t let me share the really cool graphic pictures on her social media, so I had to find a place to use them.
All of the images were taken on our farm. I do not have a picture of the first point on my poster that I can share here. I did not think about using this topic for my 4H poster. So, last spring I did not take a picture of the back end of one of the pregnant ewe prior to her going into labor. I did find an image for my poster but mom said it might violate a copywrite by sharing it here. You’ll have to use your imagination.
Birth of a Lamb
A few weeks before a ewe has her lamb, her udder will start to swell or “bag up.” As lambing nears the ewe’s vulva will swell.
A ewe beginning labor will separate herself from the flock. She will paw the ground and lay down and get up frequently to get comfortable.
A discharge will be seen from the vulva.
The water sac will emerge and eventually rupture.
As the ewe pushes, front feet should emerge first along with the lamb’s head.
After a final push, the lamb will slide out, along with membrane and birth fluids.
A towel can be used to wipe the lamb to stimulate breathing and clear nasal passages. The ewe will lick the lamb to clean it, which is important for bonding.
- The world record for most lambs born at one time is a whopping EIGHT! Sadly one of them was stillborn. The ewe that gave birth to them was a Texel cross!
- Sheep only have two teats!
- A lamb without a mother, that is bottle fed, is called a bummer lamb!
- If the ewe is expecting twins, it will often take longer for her to bag up. A ewe expecting a single birth will usually bag up a lot faster.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the birth of a lamb. I have more pictures, but this was all that fit onto my poster. If I get a blue ribbon I think my mom should give me homework credit for it too. Please leave a comment if you agree.
Be sure to follow my mom on social media and we will share some fair photos. My brothers and I will be showing some of the lambs from our first-year breeding projects.