Would you like to know how a simple change can help increase your flock or herd’s day time lambing rates? Do you dislike cold winter all night baby watch, checks and 1 to 4 am birthing times.
How you ask? Its simple really.
Change your main feeding time for your hay.
Make your feeding time after 6 pm in the evening and your ewe’s or doe’s or cows will spend the night working on their dinners and will have their babies during the daylight hours between 6am to 6 pm.
I had noticed that I had a lot of morning and daylight lambing and I love that.. I also found that those girls that hang back on the morning feed out are ready to go.. and It give me a nice heads up for getting them into the lambing jugs.
This works if you want it moved the other way if you work a full-time job off the farm, you can adjust your feeding times to give you the best results for when you ARE home.
The reason I can say this is because they have studied this to the point that they have the present’s that give birth in what timings.
Researchers at the Kansas State Experiment Station followed up with a five-year study to give us all a better idea of what we could expect from a change to evening feeding.
Their results are similar to other studies. Dusk feeding meant that 34% of calves came between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Another 21.2% came between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., and then another 30% arrived between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. That left only 15% of the calves being delivered between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Of course your results may vary.
We have done this for years and we have most of our lambs/kids and calf’s born between 7 am and 11 am. If you tend to have most of your babies born at night and would prefer them to be born during the daylight hours.. do give this Canadian method a try!
This post is part of Self Reliance Challenge Jan 2019.. I am just early! It will be included in the round up posts!
Now I’m definitely going to look into that – we’ve always fed after six in the evening as we’ve been at work all day. Our jersey usually calves around four in the morning. Thinking back on the goats – they were willy nilly all over the place. Hmmmm – time to do some homework.
I still have the straggler that will have its babies on side when I go out for first morning checks but most of them (90 percent plus) will have them during the day. I look forward to seeing what your homework brings in terms of shifting those births over by a few hours to get that calf born just a little later in the morning. 🙂 but if a big storm comes in.. all bets are off. because I swear that storm pressure changes can trigger birthing!
I agree with you there….I tend to think that animals will birth when they instinctively feel it safest if they can – even though they’re domesticated. A storm means there will be fewer ‘predators’ about for instance. No wind means smells can’t carry – and so on. My husband goes out to the barn at five am, usually in time to see a slightly damp calf just getting to its feet. We’ve one jersey due end of February (the fellow we got her from didn’t mark down her breed date), and one is due in May (we know that date). Let the games begin 😄
This is really interesting, Farm Gal! I don’t think my Dad knew about this when we were expecting calves on the farm, back in the day! He spent many a night in the barn during calving season.
It was a farmer back in the day In alberta Canada that made the connection, and its been well studied since then. I really noticed the difference between when we feed out free feed round bales vs twice daily feeding out. I move them over to round bales for the horses in the hardest part of winter but I now do it after lambing and kidding is done 🙂
We have only ever had one lamb born at night – it was at 5 am. All the rest of our lambs, kids, and one calf have been born during the day. We have had about 15 born, which is definitely higher than 90% born during the day. We don’t have pasture, just a “dry lot” barnyard. During lambing (and kidding) season, which is March-April usually, we feed them hay at 7:45am and 6pm and grain with the hay at their evening feeding.
We have one ewe who is quite a food hog and she barely would leave her morning meal to lay down and give birth. She kept running back to eat and then laying down to push. We caught her and put her in a jug and then she settled in to finish birthing, but it was pretty funny when we found her so torn between getting to eat her breakfast and needing to give birth. 🙂
LOL, O my gosh yes, I have one of those, food or birthing.. run back and forth between feeder and where she wants to be.. It cracked me up but I did the same as you, jugged her and then feed her in the jug.. Silly girls! at least they are good eaters. Your timing for the evening feeding and grain is perfect for daytime birthing..
She is my easiest keeper, so no complaints about her, even if she does act silly. 🙂
I’ve heard this! Mine get hay from a self feeder, but grain is served in the morning. Although most of mine tend to kid midday, I have had a couple of early morning kidders.
Knock on wood. I’ve been pretty good at figuring out when kidding is imminent and try to move the moms-to-be into an isolated stall before the event.
Still, I love this tip. Anything that makes life simpler is aces with me.
Thanks for all your replies on your post 🙂 I am glad that things go so well for you on kidding. I agree anything that makes things simpler is always better.
The stomach rules! 😀
J > Very interesting. Adopting this practice would have far-reaching consequences for the pattern of our daily work, but we’ll have to consider it. Not that we have much trouble from our Hebridean sheep – they are easy lambers anyway.
Wow, this is really cool information! I have a couple Nigies at the breeder and one of them is a first freshener, so this will come in handy. Thanks for sharing!
Glad you enjoyed the information, best of luck
This is so interesting. Enjoyed the article for sure. I don’t have any larger farm at this time, but I would love to. I am working on fencing and such to get to this. Thank you for the information.
Glad you enjoyed it Dianne 🙂 Ah, Fencing, I know it well, its a never ending job it seems at times. I look forward to hearing how it goes if you are willing to share.. Have a great coming year!
So interesting! I never knew this, no plans for sheep in our near future but good to know!
Hi Nancy, it works for goats and cows as well, anything that chews cud 🙂
This is interesting. I am going to have to give it a try. Those night births are a nightmare. It is always so cold and dark. I always worry about losing babies because I didn’t expect a birth and wasn’t there. Thanks for the tip!
Its been a very useful thing for us over the years to have the day time birthing, but I am still glad I have the jug pens set up.
I didn’t realize this was why most of my goats kidded in the daylight hours! How cool – I’ll be spreading the word to others.
Thank you Kathi, Glad you enjoyed the post and the information.
I am SO glad I read this! We have three does ready to kid in the next month. Thanks for sharing this advice.
Hi Heidi, best of luck on your does, I will look forward to hearing how it goes, do you milk them? or do you leave the kids on the girls?
This was so interesting, even though I have no sheep, kidding or otherwise! Maybe one day!
Its always possible at some point 🙂
This is so interesting! I don’t have lambs, but I had no idea that feed time could adjust the birthing times
Hi Bethany, it works for any of them that chew cud, goats, sheep or cows.. 🙂
That is really cool! I never knew that feed times could impact the birthing time for various animals. I’ll have to keep this in mind for when we eventually have more than just chickens.