Bagging up, tail ridge showing softened ligamentsI have five ewes in the barn that I think were bred earlier than planned. I was banking on them all having been bred on two, five-day-apart accidental ram escape days in mid-August. So that would mean that tomorrow would be day 147 or 142 of their pregnancies. My sheep very consistently cluster around 147 days gestation, though some have lambed as early as 143 days, and as late as 159 days.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen two of these ewes bagging-up, so I know their lambs are imminent. One looked very imminent starting last Tuesday (the tan one above), I could have sworn she was going to lamb that very night! The ligaments surrounding her tail became very soft, making her tail like a dinosaur ridge. This usually means lambs are coming within twelve hours or so. But, so far, nothing. A watched pot never boils…

Bagging upI have jugged these two so they are isolated for their birthing time. I did this less because I lack confidence in their mothering abilities (they are both experienced ewes) and more because #33 is also in the barn, and she is known to “granny”, or steal lambs. I could have jugged her instead, but it’s fairly tight quarters in there now; so just wanted to make sure each ewe wasn’t dealing with a lot of cross-traffic in the scent pool of their newborn lamb bonding scene.

Big lambs in there, and triplet genetics, but no milk yet

And what of the other three ewes which tested positive for pregnancy before the regularly scheduled time? They are not bagging up, though are definitely large in the belly. Thus, I conclude, they are due sooner than April, but not this week. What the heck? I went back through my notes, and discovered that I had a third ram breakout on October 4th. This was just a single ram, and only for about five minutes. Five minutes! He had broken into a field of about sixty or seventy ewes; so it’s amazing to think he could have found three in heat and bred them in that timeframe. But that would appear to be exactly what he may have done! Only time will tell.