Don't shift a ewe soon after she has lambed

lambs newbornWhen a ewe is preparing to lamb, she’ll try to find a quiet spot for a birth site. She’ll paw and sniff the ground, getting up and lying down as labour progresses, and turning round to see what has happened.

As her waters burst on this birth site, the smell will anchor her to that spot. So if you don’t see all this pre-birth behaviour, you may dive in and shift her, for example to what you think is a better spot. She’ll not agree because the smell of her waters has dictated where the lambs must logically be located.

So often you try to shift a ewe, even after she has lambed, and all she wants to do is to run back (defying the dog) to get back to the smell of the birth site. Nature has told the ewe that her lambs must be near where her waters burst – and it can be very frustrating if you don’t understand this. You can end up stressing the ewe so she'll end up leaving the lamb(s).

So, let a ewe lamb where she has chosen, and leave her alone her for at least a couple of days before shifting her to another paddock. Research has shown that ewes with strong maternal instincts will hang around the birth site for at least a couple of days.

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