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- A few weeks before lambing the ewe will “bag up”. You’ll see her udder swelling.
- Nearer lambing her vulva will swell and you may see some mucous discharge.
- The ewe will separate from the flock if there is room to find a quiet area.
- She will prepare a birth site by smelling the ground, pawing the ground with her front feet, and going round and round.
- She’ll get up and down a lot as birth pains start to build up.
- A small “water bag” will appear protruding from the vulva. This is the bag the lamb is in and is quite normal.
A prolapse is a large red organ - this is the vagina and uterus turned inside out. This needs very great care to put back and needs a retainer to hold it in.
- The water bag will burst and then you should see front feet and a nose.
- If you don’t see front feet and nose - things are not normal and some manipulation may be needed.
- The ewe will smell the ground a lot where her waters have burst.
- She’ll then soon lie down and push the lamb out.
- She may get up and down during these pushes and look round smelling the ground - almost looking for the lamb.
- With the final push the lamb will be delivered and the membranes over the lamb should rupture.
- The ewe will stand up and turn round to lick the lamb - and hopefully chew the membranes from the lambs nose so it does not suffocate.
- The ewe eating the afterbirth is quite normal.
- The cord will break when the ewe turns round. Stretching the cord helps to stop any bleeding.
- Don’t break the cord until the lamb starts to breathe.
- The afterbirth will be pushed out soon after the lamb. If it does not, don’t worry about it unless the ewe becomes sick.