What is the name of a baby lamb

Breeding sheep


Male sheep are called buck or ram, the female animal is called ewe, floodplain or zibbe. Before reaching sexual maturity, one speaks of buck and kilber lambs. While the little bucks already show a clear interest in the opposite sex in their first autumn at three to five months (depending on the due date) and are capable of covering at the latest at twelve months, the female lambs reach sexual maturity at 7 to 18 months, depending on the breed a. However, by the time they are first occupied, the Kilber lambs should have reached around 70 to 80 percent of their final weight, otherwise they will remain too small and the lambs will only have a low birth weight.

Mating season

In sheep, the mating season is usually triggered by the shortening of the days in autumn and lasts approximately from September to December. However, depending on the breed, a distinction is made between seasonal and non-seasonal heat behavior. Merino sheep, for example, are ready to mate all year round, although here too the heat intensity and the fertilization results are significantly higher in autumn than in the other seasons.


In sheep, oestrus lasts around 24 to 36 hours, and the best time for fertilization is around the middle. Signs of heat can be more or less pronounced. Signs of this are restlessness, frequent bleating or reddening and swelling of the vagina, but they can also be absent entirely. The buck recognizes the female animal's willingness to mate by the urine. If no fertilization has taken place, the next heat occurs after two to three weeks.


One to four lambs are born after about 150 days. Dairy sheep must be dried out about six weeks before the due date. In addition, the sheep is milked less and less frequently until the milk flow stops and the udder can adjust to the new lactation period. A daily massage with milk fat can help prevent inflammation of the udder. Since 80 percent of the lambs grow in the last two months of pregnancy, the mother must now be supported by good feed and any concentrated feed. A wormer treatment should be carried out in good time before lambing - the vet will advise on the right preparation. Shearing the tail is also useful in order to keep the birth area as clean as possible.


A separate lambing pen in a quiet corner of the stable is prepared with clean, dry bedding. The impending birth is announced by restlessness, sunken flanks, milk penetration into the udder and mucus discharge from the vagina. Usually sheep lamb alone and without human help. The lamb is born about 20 minutes after the amniotic sac is seen. If the ewe carries more than one lamb, they are usually born about 20 minutes apart. However, if difficulties and disturbances arise, for example if the amniotic sac has been visible for an hour without the birth proceeding, a veterinarian or experienced sheep farmer should be called for help immediately to provide professional obstetrics.

The lambs

When the lamb is born, the umbilical cord breaks off by itself. Mucus and blood should be removed from the young animal's nose and mouth. The umbilical stump is treated with tincture of iodine to prevent inflammation and infection. A healthy lamb is already on its feet 10 to 20 minutes after birth and is looking for the mother's udder. The valuable colostrum or colostrum, which is only produced by the mother in the first 24 hours, is very important for the immune defense of the lamb, whose own immune system is not yet working. If a lamb has to be reared by hand, it is bottle-fed colostrum from the mother or another ewe in the herd.

In the case of ram lambs that are not to be used for breeding, castration must be carried out as early as possible. As early as three to four months, the animals show otherwise sex-specific behavior and cause unrest in the herd. The procedure is carried out by the vet.

Already after the second week of life, the lambs are offered additional feed (hay) to stimulate the development of the rumen. In the case of milk sheep, the lambs are weaned at around twelve weeks in order to be able to obtain milk. To do this, mother and lambs are temporarily separated from around the 5th week of life, for example overnight, and the periods of separation are gradually extended. In meat sheep, whose milk is reserved exclusively for the lamb, the milk flow stops after about three to five months. (Heike Pankatz)