Summit 1179 Jasper went in with the ewe flock on December 20 to cover any ewes that are still open after the main breeding season in October. The girls were all happy to see him and surrounded him to get a good sniff.
There are four open ewes that I did not include in the October breeding groups. One was too young, and three were too thin. As a general rule of thumb, I do not breed ewe lambs until they are at least 7 months old and weigh at least 75 pounds. I also do not breed adult ewes unless their body condition score is at least a 2.5.
Two of the thin ewes had nursed lambs throughout the summer and needed to regain some condition before breeding. The third thin ewe had been a bottle baby. Her dam was an older ewe that developed mastitis and could not nurse her lambs. It is not uncommon for bottle babies to grow a bit slower than their peers.
Although open ewes following breeding season are rare in my flock, it is also possible that ewes covered in October are still not bred. A ewe that has aborted is said to have slipped her lamb. This can happen for numerous reasons. It is also possible that she did not come into heat while in the pasture with the ram, or he just missed her. By putting Jasper in with them now, those ewes will get a second chance at breeding.
Jasper will stay with the ewes until February 17th, which is about 2 weeks before the first lambs are due from the October breeding. Any ewes bred during this second season should lamb in mid-May.