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304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
How Common Are Triplets In Sheep?
Are lamb triplets common? With many flocks now scanning well over 200%, it is inevitable that many ewes will produce triplets.
What to do if a ewe has triplets? Managing your mobs in relation to number of foetuses and feeding accordingly will improve ewe condition. Reducing mob size can improve lamb survival. Ewes bearing triplets require extra attention and management compared with both single and twin-bearing ewes including more nutrient dense quality feeds.
How common are twins in sheep? Twin births (two babies) is most common in well-managed flocks and with many breeds of sheep. First-time moms, especially yearlings, are more likely to have single births, though twins are not uncommon in some breeds. Ewes produce their largest litters of lambs when they are between the ages of 3 and 6.
If feed is short, triplet-bearing ewes should be prioritised for supplementary feeding. Average or low- quality silage or hay is not recommended, because of its high bulk. Peas, grain or sheep nuts can be good options, with ewes slowly adjusted onto them. However, farmers need to consider costs versus returns.
Lambing three times in two years is possible with some breeds of sheep e.g. Dorset, Merino, etc, rather than the normal system of one lambing per year. Generally, sheep are seasonal breeders, with the dark autumn and winter nights triggering the start of the breeding season.
Lambs are born around 145 days (or about 4.5 months) after the ewe falls pregnant.
He said a flock scanning 120 percent would have 50pC lambs born as twins. A scanning percentage of 150pc meant 65-70pc of lambs would be born as twins and 5-10 per cent born as triplets.
Creep feeding is a means of providing supplemental nutrition to nursing lambs and kids. It is accomplished by giving lambs and kids access to extra feed or better pasture, while excluding their dams. Lambs and kids that are born in the winter months are often creep fed, since pasture is usually not readily available.
Some Reasons a Ewe Might Reject Her Lambs. The ewe has no maternal instinct. It sometimes happens and whenit happens the ewe can be very, very nasty to her lambs. She won’t have them near her.
The ram may breed his daughters and dam. Undersized ewe lambs may be bred. Because the times of breeding and lambing will not be not known, it will be difficult to properly time vaccinations, supplemental feeding, and other management practices.
Rams produce 100’s of 1000’s of sperm, more than enough to produce sextuplets every time, but they don’t because it’s not up to them. Twins, triplets or quads are generally the result of multiple ovulation by the ewe. As we’ve said before, the ram provides 1/2 of the genetics to each lamb.
According to Paul Rodgers, director of producer services for the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), the conventional approach of adding 20 to 100 ewes to a farm operation can be profitable. Other approaches require careful marketing and would be more difficult and risky.
The lambs will stay with their mother until they are about 5 months old. At 6 months, they are considered fully grown.
Sexual behavior. Ewes generally reach sexual maturity at six to eight months of age, and rams generally at four to six (ram lambs have occasionally been known to impregnate their mothers at two months).
Although ewes are bred, the fetuses are only growing a small amount during the first and second trimester. Ewes can be fed on pasture or if in confinement, a good quality grass hay. In both situations, ewes should be fed a sheep mineral and vitamin mix to complement the nutrient content of the forages fed.
— Multiple births among sheep are fairly common with twins and even, at times, triplets born to a ewe in the spring. But when it comes to quadruplets, that’s unusual. The quadruplets here were born on the morning of April 23. It was a first for the flock at Marr Grange.
Most ewes lamb during daylight hours, but management will affect when peaks occur.
A farmer told of his shock after a sheep gave birth to eight lambs – in what is believed to be a UK record. Andrew Morgan, 69, was stunned when he found out one of his ewes had delivered eight lambs – after a scan just two months earlier revealed she was only having four.
The most intensive form of accelerated lambing is twice a year lambing whereby a ewe would produce two lamb crops per year. Twice a year lambing has the potential to maximize lamb production, but may not be practical under most commercial situations. Twice a year lambing is probably most common near the equator.
While the butchering was going on, you could tell she sensed it, although there is no sound of distress during the butchering: since the animals die instantly, there is no distress. I have cried on butcher day in the past, when it is over. It is on my mind, a conscious decision I make to kill an animal to eat it.
The high losses are due to neglect by farmers, working in an industry that exploits animals at every stage. As a result of the burdens put on sheep, they suffer endemic lameness, miscarriage, infestation and infection. Lambs who do survive are usually killed for food at around four months old.