Good morning from South Africa
I need some advice today; I have 3 Dorper ewes with lambs that will be 3 months this weekend. I have not weaned the lambs yet as I don't want to risk blue udder. However, I need to start synchronising the ewes. Can I use t CIDR and 14 days later PMS on these ewes or should I wean the lambs first?
The CIDR will increase the ewe's production of progesterone, to bring her onto cycle. If she has little to no progesterone production due to mothering a lamb, you may be wasting your time. I have only ever used CIDR in cattle and never in a dam with babies at foot. If your lambs are near weaning (within two weeks) you will have a better success rate, however, if lambs are quite young, then consider how you will feed them if your ewes abandon them.
There is more than just plugging in a CIDR and magically getting an extra lamb or two. I am not telling you not to do it, neither am I telling you to do it. If you are really unsure, ask a vet or even better ask a fellow sheep farmer. What is the usual practice of your area? Your climate and conditions are vastly different to ours, you would be best to ask someone local.
Good Luck whatever you decide to do.
I too have no experience with sheep but only with cattle, where you certainly can use CIDR's when the cows are still suckling calves! We have used them twice in recent years, when calves are approximately 3 months old and not weaned for another 6 months. That is after all, the time when the bull would be mating the cows or AI without synchronising the cows cycles would be used-normal practice in the dairy industry,
My reservations with sheep would be are they not seasonal breeders? It is the day length which governs their oestrus cycles and CIDRs and the injections wouldn't work? If it did surely farmers would be using this method to get two lambings per year?
Thanks mudlerk, thought that may have ben the case! I knew Dorsets (?) could lamb more than once a year, but wasn't sure about others.
Thanks for the reply. My lambs are three month old now and I plan to wean them within the next two weeks. They don't suckle much anymore.
I was told by my neighbour, from whom I bought the Dorpers to use CIDR and PMG to obtain 3 lambings in two years. However, from the outset I was not comfortable with the idea of using artificial means to influence their cycles. The usual practice in this area seems to be the use of CIDR's.
Thanks again for the reply, I think as I am a subsistence and not commercial farmer I will keep to the natural way and have the ewes lamb in early spring
The Dorpers that I have seen in NZ, and the part Dorpers that I have owned, are comparatively small sheep. We don't wean our Suffolks and Romneys until mid-January so that the lambs get to a good size, except .... If pasture is scarce then they get weaned mid-December and go onto the better pasture and the ewes onto the scarcer feed.
I am a very firm believer that if a lamb or ewe dies because I was not present to aid it, then I am guilty of animal neglect. Thus I believe that I should be shepherding during lambing, as this is the time that problems are much more likely. Thus our ewes only lamb over a 54 day period, and I stay at home then.
If the ewes are in good condition then they are able to get pregnant while suckling lambs from about 3 months from giving birth. Ewes in poorer condition, because of feet problems, missing teeth, multiple lambs or not enough good enough food will take longer.
If you don't take the ram away from the ewes now, some might lamb in late April. Our rams go out in early March for 54 days so that lambing is from early August just before the grass starts growing again.