With the worst of winter behind us and spring time nearing we are starting to see new born lambs and calves around the district.
This is the busiest time of the year for farmers and signals the start the milking season for dairy farmers. It also means the things can get a bit busier around the lifestyle block, especially if you have pregnant cows or ewes in your care.
If you were vigilant around mating time you may have an idea of when your animals are due. Gestation times are, 21 weeks for a ewe and 40 weeks for a cow. Or you may of had your animals scanned (Pregnancy tested) your vet may have given you a due date. Keep a close eye on them from about a week before there due date.
Signs they are about to give birth are:
And finally you will see the feet appear! This is the start of labour. Most animals don’t need assistance at this stage and manage to give birth by themselves. Keep an eye on them and if after an hour or so if there is no progress you may need to assist. You may call a vet at this stage if you are not confident in this area.
When the newborn arrives it is a good idea to go check it is ok, check that the mouth and nose are clear and free of mucus and it is breathing. And make sure mum is ok too. Once the young one has taken its first shaky steps make sure is has a good feed of colostrum (the first milk from mum) and then it is a good idea to separate mum and baby from the others.
DIY advice for lifestylers, written by Kiwi Cattle Yards owner, Euan Seymour.