The Process of Lambing; Courtesy of Lilly

Hubby and I stayed home all weekend, in the house… That’s a big deal.  We never stay in the house but we had a good reason being that Hubby was sick; and we’ll leave it at that.  So on Sunday I noticed that Lilly was out by herself up on our hill we have in the pasture.  I knew she was getting close to lambing so knew that “today’s the day.”  She would pace back and forth trying to find a comfortable position and eventually came back down to the base of the hill, in a slight depression in the ground where run-off flows if we have heavy rains.


It was raining, but was more the showers here and there, then sun, then slight sprinkles, then showers.  Not too bad to sit through, so I headed out with the camera and the kid to document Lilly’s birth for you all to witness right here on Mud Ranch’s Real Dirt.  So, before we get too involved here’s my Warning Label:

Should you continue to read this post, there will be graphic photographs of a ewe’s nether regions, amniotic fluid and goo… If you feel queasy with this subject I urge you to go look at something lovelier such as my photographs of Lupine Flowers last spring.  If you choose to follow along, you may find this post fairly educational -if not in words, in photos.

I’ve now said my peace and if you continue, you take your eyes in to your own hands.


I’ve always noticed that when a ewe gets ready to “lamb” (have babies) she will baaaa a lot as if to call her babies out or ask for help, I’m not sure which.  But they are certainly not without pain.



Before you start to see anything coming out the ewe’s backside, you will notice her pace, lay down, get up, pace, lay down, look at her belly, stretch her head back and point her upper lip.  This process was about 30 minutes long for Lilly.


Then all of a sudden, you’ll see a little bubble of a sack poke out and if everything is right in the world, two hooves one slightly behind the other and the tip of a nose.


The little hooves are bright white and look like tiny little stockings.


Lilly is pushing really hard here, with her upper lip curled and her eyes rolled in the back of her head.  I, of course, start rooting her on, “You can do it Lilly!  Good job, you’re almost there!”

She probably wants to reach over and slap me but she’s a patient and calm ewe so she tolerated her audience well.


Here’s the head now, with the feet below the chin.  The head is the largest part of the lamb and is therefore the hardest to push out.  Sometimes a ewe may need traction (steady pressure held while she’s pushing), on a lamb that has a larger head as she may need help.  This was, thankfully, not true in Lilly’s case.


Lilly then lies down once the head is through and pushes with all her might to get the rest of her lamb out.  Right about now, I was hoping for a ewe lamb.





Congratulations Lilly, you just had a… Belted Galloway.

To be continued…


About mudranch

I live in the country, I love to take photos, I'm a shepherdess, I adore my husband and daughter, I walk in the will of Christ.

Posted on March 16, 2009, in Jacob Sheep, New Arrival. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hey! you can’t leave us in suspense like that! 🙂
    Great photo essay!

  2. I agree – I want to see the babies 🙂 Good job Lilly!

  3. This was great! Thanks!

  4. Oh, you’re a stinker, you are!

  5. Whooohooo! Way to go Lily! Thanks for including us in your birth experience! I’ve never seen a sheep give birth yet (Hope to next year when I breed my churro and karakul ewes).

    Birth, even though a little icky, is still just so beautiful and amazing! You are wonderful for sharing this experience with us. I bet it never gets old or boring for you, even after you’ve seen many births?

    A Galloway, eh? Well at least it’s rare! lol!

    Can’t wait to see the next installment! 🙂


  1. Pingback: The Process of Lambing - Continued « Mud Ranch’s Real Dirt

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