Things are relatively uneventful as we wait for lambs. I’ve taken this slow time when I don’t enjoy being outside in the cold weather to work on doing Fecal Egg counts for my flock. I don’t expect to find many, but it’s a good way to pinpoint potential problems, and I’ve got about a third of them done, including a recheck for one who I wormed and some other redos to check my accuracy or where I only got samples less than 4 grams.
I’ll probably need to start giving annual immunizations (Covexin 8) to some of my ewes expecting Feary lambs now and stocking up on supplies/medicines for the impending lambing season. I occasionally check udder development on my early girls because they are the ones I don’t have breeding dates for – bred before I put the marker on the rams. Vanilla( BFL/Texel first time mother at 2) is the only one in the early group who has a breeding date because I witnessed her being bred by Jason, our Icelandic ram. Not really her intended mate, but I’ll be happy to have some nice crossbred lambs to sell from her and Icelandic cross lambs tend to be more energetic – always a good thing for a first time mother. She’s starting to form a little udder and her belly looks plump. Her 145 day due date is 2/25 and only other ewe who looks as pregnant as she shape-wise is Fern (Icelandic/BFL/Lincoln) who has no official due date, has that rounded pregnant look, but still no obvious udder. She’s bred to Kiaba, our young Texel/Suffolk ram. There are about 5 more ewes with questionable late February/Early march dates, but starting 3/5, we have pretty good dates on everyone.
The main thing we are watching for now is making sure all are fed well as they approach or enter their third trimester of pregnancy. They get mostly a good quality hay and some grain mix with extra protein, but extra hay on cold days helps them keep warm too as it processes in their full rumens. I had one crossbred ewe lamb, due 4/1, who was uncoordinated and stumbling one morning last week so I gave her some B vitamin shots and extra calories/attention for a couple days, but was actually looking better by noon of the same day and is now back out with the main flock. I have some of my younger pregnant ewes in a pen where they get fed separately so they don’t have to compete with big, pushy adults. Some individuals seem to have coughs and runny noses, but with the unpleasant weather and closer quarters of winter conditions, it’s one of those things that is hard to avoid. I just need to watch those with colds to make sure they don’t turn into something worse, like pneumonia. I sometimes use VetRX, a product that is sort of like Vicks for animals, to treat the symptoms of those with colds, especially on individuals who are easier to catch. Coughing can also cause heavily pregnant ewes to have prolapses. Luckily I have not had this happen in my flock yet, but it’s something to watch out for.