The gestation period of a female sheep is approximately five months. Soon after breeding, there are several things you can do to determine whether or not your sheep is pregnant. Read on to learn more on how to tell if a sheep is pregnant.
What You'll Learn Today
- 7 Sheep Pregnancy Signs
- Consult Your Veterinarian
- Watch For These Signs Just Before Delivery
- Signs & Symptoms Of Sheep Pregnancy May Vary
- Frequently Asked Questions
7 Sheep Pregnancy Signs
Things to watch on your female sheep:
1. Chest Measurement Increases
Your ewe’s chest measurement (heart girth) will increase, as will the size of her abdomen. Keep track of this by taking measurements before having her bred and then at regular intervals thereafter.
2. Estrus Cycle
Keep good records of your ewe’s estrus cycle. The estrus cycle of a ewe is roughly bi-weekly. She should come into estrus every sixteen or seventeen days. If your ewe does not come into estrus within three weeks of breeding, you can be fairly certain she is pregnant.
3. Several Visual Cues
Pay attention to visual cues. Your ewe’s abdomen may take on a lopsided appearance.
4. Shape Of Udder
As the lambs grow and develop, the shape of you ewe’s udder will change. Initially it will look flattened. As the pregnancy progresses it will become more rounded.
5. Palpate The Abdomen
Palpation of the abdomen can be performed two to three months after your ewe has been bred. After this much time has passed, you will probably be able to tell she is pregnant by looking at her.
Nonetheless, if you want to try palpation, begin by pressing the ewe’s abdomen just in front of the udder. If she is pregnant, her abdomen will feel tight in comparison with an ewe that is not pregnant.
6. Keep Close Track Of Milk Production
If your ewe is a dairy animal, milk production will naturally decrease after she becomes pregnant.
7. Behavior Towards Rams
Watch her behavior to see if she shows any interest in rams. If she is bred, she will not fraternize with an intact male sheep.
Here’s a helpful video:
Consult Your Veterinarian
You may also wish to contact your vet for an ultrasound, blood test or urine test to definitely confirm pregnancy.
Your veterinarian can verify pregnancy with a urine or blood test during the second month of pregnancy. An ultrasound scan can detect the presence and number of lambs in the third month of pregnancy.
Pregnant Sheep – Signs Of Impending Labor
Watch For These Signs Just Before Delivery
A few days before the lamb is born, you will notice your ewe behaving oddly. Here are a few things she may do in preparation for the birth:
- Move about independently of the flock
- Stand up and lie down at odd intervals
- Paw the ground
You may also notice some physical signs of impending birth, such as swollen vulva and/or udder. Additionally, the ligaments at the base of the ewe’s spine will relax and become undetectable when labor begins.
Amie The Amazing Sheep Giving Birth
Signs & Symptoms Of Sheep Pregnancy May Vary
Young ewes bred for the first time may show fewer signs and symptoms than older, more experienced ewes. For this reason, it may be difficult to detect early pregnancy in these ewes.
Rest assured, as they, and you gain more experience and confidence, being able to tell when your sheep is pregnant will become easier and easier. Also make sure you adjust their feeding schedule by providing a high-quality concentrate feed and sufficient water to your pregnant ewes.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can continue routine veterinary care during a ewe’s pregnancy; however, you are wisest to make sure your ewes are dewormed, up to date on shots, have their hooves trimmed and have had their hindquarters sheared (crutched) before mating takes place.
It’s not a good idea. There are a number of zoonotic diseases carried by sheep that can affect pregnant women and unborn babies.
From the time the ewe’s cervix begins to dilate until the moment of birth can take between four and five hours. Actual delivery usually takes about an hour.
If the waterbag is present for more than an hour and/or if the ewe seems to be in a great deal of discomfort, straining unproductively for a long time, you should intervene and call your vet.
No more than half an hour should pass between the birth of each lamb in multiple births.