At Lambing Time
Many operations that lamb indoors (aka shed lambing) provide a brief period of time for mother and lambs to bond in a separate confined space. Simple pens, often referred to as jugs, measure roughly 4 ft x 5 ft. Ewes and newborns are housed in jugs for 1 to 3 days typically, but longer in the case of a weak lamb or other complication. Triplets, and especially quads, may need slightly more space depending on the size of the ewe. We find jugs especially useful when monitoring a litter of triplet lambs during their first 48 hrs. We prefer to allow ewes to deliver their lambs in a slightly larger pen without other ewes present. This drop pen can simply be 2 jugs with no divider. Some breeders allow their ewes to deliver in jugs, but we prefer to allow the ewe a bit more space. A significant number of lambs are born among the other pregnant ewes. It can be challenging to sort out which lambs belong to which ewes if too many lambs are born within a short period of time. Also, heavily pregnant and strongly maternal ewes may attempt to steal a lamb and nurse it as their own. Alternatively, newborn lambs may wander, searching for their mother, in a large pen of ewes eventually becoming weak, chilled, and not receiving adequate colostrum. Some ewes may be reluctant to accept their lamb if it was separated for a significant period of time after birth.