I usually have a hard time detecting when my ewes are about to go into labor. My dairy goat friends always tell me, oh it’s so easy to see when her belly drops, her tail ligaments loosen and her udder fills. Well, sure, it’s easy to see on a sleek goat. But a lot of my mature sheep are a little saggy and dairy-hipped anyway; and they are normally still wooly when they lamb. And, my ewes sometimes get big udders weeks in advance. They rarely show any drama while in labor; they casually lay around in repose until a final contraction or two comes and pushes a baby out, easy as spitting a watermelon seed. So I rely more on the calendar than just looking at them.
But this late-bred, shed-out ewe I have makes it oh-so-obvious what the changes are as her body loosens up for delivery and the babies get queued up to make the final over-the-pelvis dive into the world. The top picture was taken just over a week ago, when she was wide as a truck and her babies were riding high. And now look at her! In photos from last night, her hip bones and tail outline have emerged, her udder and vulva are huge, and the lambs are way down low. Everything shifted. She was looking contemplative in the evening, so I figured she’d lamb anytime; and sure enough, I found twins in the morning. Textbook!