Sheep Management Calendar

A management calendar of suggested practices to follow is useful to the beginning as well as experienced producers in managing the sheep flock. Sheep production evolves around the lambing season. Therefore, the production cycle starts approximately 6 months prior to the date you want your first lambs to be born.

The following guidelines are not intended to fit every sheep operation but merely serve as suggested practices that might be useful if they fit your operation. Because every sheep operation is different, a separate sheep calendar should be tailored to fit a flock's needs.

PRIOR TO BREEDING

  • Purchase rams 45-60 days prior to start of breeding season.
  • Drench ewes and rams for internal parasites.
  • Trim feet (do rams 30 days prior to start of breeding season).
  • Shear rams.
  • Provide cool environment for rams.
  • Condition rams by giving some grain if too thin. Shoot for a 3.5 body condition score.
  • Vaccinate ewes for campylobacteriosis (vibrio) and enzootic abortion (EAE).
  • Begin flushing ewes 2-3 weeks prior to start of breeding season and continue into breeding.

BREEDING

  • Use marker on rams - change color every 17 days.
  • Observe breeding activity of rams, remove boss rams, rotate rams.
  • If weather is hot, run rams with ewes at night and keep in cool environment during day.
  • Remove rams after 51 days.

PRIOR TO LAMBING - EARLY PREGNANCY (First 15 weeks)

  • Vaccinate all ewe lambs and new ewes in the flock with their second injection for campylobacteriosis (vibrio) and enzootic abortion (EAE).
  • Watch general health of ewes. Sort off thin ewes to increase body condition score.
  • Use lower quality roughages at this time - save higher quality feeds for later stages of pregnancy.
  • Utilize other marginal feedstuffs during this time.

PRIOR TO LAMBING - LATE PREGNANCY (4-6 weeks before lambing)

  • Begin increasing plane of nutrition by supplementing with grain, high quality roughages, or pasture.
  • Trim and check feet.
  • Treat for internal parasites.
  • Shear at least two weeks prior to lambing. If you do not shear the ewes at this time, crutch or tag
  • ewes instead.
  • Vaccinate ewes for enterotoxemia (about 30 days prior to lambing).
  • Prepare lambing quarters, check supplies, and equipment.