MONTICELLO, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Lambs are taking the University of Arkansas at Monticello “by storm” this lambing season.
The hairless sheep were introduced and the program was installed in the College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources at the university in 2021, making this the second lambing season.
According to a press release, the breed of domestic sheep is called the “Katahdin,” which is disease resistant. They are reportedly known for their meat and do not need shearing.
“Seems like whenever one drops, they all start dropping day after day,” said Dr. Rocky Lindsey, associate professor of animal science and veterinarian. “We’ve had two born overnight, that’s been the case. One or two have been born each day for the last week or so.”
Photos of the lambs can be found below:
Dr. Lindsey says the lamb births will continue for another couple of weeks until they are done.
According to Dr. Lindsey, twins are preferred as you “get more bang for your buck;” the ewes have plenty of milk and the lambs grow well. Lindsey says triplets can be a problem, which happened on New Year’s Eve when one of the ewes gave birth to three lambs.
The release points out that mothers tend to reject one or both of the other babies, which was the case of the UAM triplets. The mom reportedly let one of the babies nurse but was head-butting and pushing away the other two, so the mother and babies were placed in a pen to stay together overnight.
Dr. Lindsey says the mom has now accepted one of the two abandoned lambs. The third is being bottle-fed.
UAM says Animal Science Assistant Professor and veterinarian Dr. Maribel Nelson has volunteered to monitor this year’s lambing season and has been checking on the sheep herd three times per day and feeding them. Nelson is reportedly making a concentrated effort to interact with the sheep so that she can bond and understand their behaviors.
Nelson says they would like UAM to try new reproductive methods like artificial insemination. The program has begun collaborations with other professionals and companies to help move the program forward.