How To Tell If A Sheep Is Pregnant?

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.

7 Sheep Pregnancy Signs

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.

Nicky Ellis
Nicky has been an editor at Farm & Animals since 2019. Farm animals have been in her life from her earliest memories, and she learned to ride a horse when she was 5. She is a mom of three who spends all her free time with her family and friends, her mare Joy, or just sipping her favorite cup of tea.

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