The lambing season is now upon us and Renée Hemming has kindly put together an article to share her experience and knowledge.
Primitive breeds of sheep have evolved for the most part naturally, unlike modern commercial breeds with high, hands on selection criteria. Many of the requirements for commercial breeds do not apply to Ouessants. The breeds propensity to single lamb also means that heavy supplementary feeding in the run up to lambing is likely to do more harm than good. Good access to be able to free range on rough grassland with a mineral block to ensure trace elements levels are kept up along with supplementary hay is an ideal regime. Some owners like to supply a small amount of concentrate in the final month before their due date. If this is restricted to a handful per day per sheep it is more than adequate. Twin lamb disease is not commonly experienced in the breed, twin lambs being such a rarity in themselves and the lambs should be naturally small and less likely to be a drain on the ewe.
In many cases it is likely that the first an owner will know of any impending birth is to find a small blot of a lamb, more kitten sized than lamb sized tucked up next to the ewe. Impeccably cleaned off and ready to follow her easily, at a moment’s notice. Unless the weather is very inclement there is no need to do more than a quick check to ensure that both the lamb and ewe are well.
A guide to lambing and the events surrounding the birth can be found on the society’s website
Author: Renée Hemming