Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lambing Jugs

We usually let ewes begin lambing in the large pen, with the other expectant ewes. After the first lamb is born, The Farmer will let her care for it for a few minutes. Then he will go in and pick up the lamb (or lambs, if he's arrived after multiple births) and move slowly out of the large pen. In this case, the lamb is the bait that makes the ewe move, too. She is very concerned about her lamb, and will follow closely, calling out the whole time. 

The ewe and her lamb(s) are placed in a small lambing pen, called a jug. I have no idea why they are called jugs. If anyone knows the origin of that term, I'd love to know. They are kept there for 1-3 days to ensure that they bond, and that the ewe is caring for her lambs well. No distractions.

We set up a whole row of temporary jugs during lambing time. This is one of our hay storage areas, so we need to be sure that we've used most of this hay up before lambing begins.

After their time in the lambing jugs, the ewe and her lambs are moved to a mingling pen with a few other mothers. This is the next challenge--to find her own babies back, and to care for them in a more social environment. If that goes well, the occupants of the smaller mingling pens will be moved to a larger pen with many more lambs and mothers. It's a constant struggle for some ewes to keep track of 2 or 3 lambs in these bigger areas, so we watch closely to see if any lambs are struggling.

Never a dull moment during lambing time.


  1. Very interesting. I appreciate you sharing the process as I know very little about sheep. Since visiting on shearing day, I've been following along.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Susan. I sometimes forget to explain basic procedures and terms, because they are becoming second nature to me. Always feel free to ask. =)


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