For the most part, the weather here in Wisconsin has been far from spring-like. However, we have had a few nice days in the past two weeks. On one of these nice days I decided to build the lambing jugs. I'd rather have them up well in advance...instead of scrambling to build them when lambs are on the ground.
The jugs are made up of Premier 1 "PowerBilt" panels. They can be found here: http://www.premier1supplies.com/detail.php?prod_id=19380&cat_id=19. These panels go together really quickly with connector hinges (also from Premier) and are nice and sturdy. My wonderful hubby came up with the idea to attach wood boards to the tops of one end and add heavy duty vinyl to the ends exposed to north winds. The boards and the vinyl are attached with zip ties. I am a huge fan of zip ties. A farmer can never have too many of these excellent fasteners! They are strong, yet are easily snipped for removal.
Some shepherds do not believe in using lambing jugs. However, I have found them to be essential in getting moms (especially first timers) to bond with their lambs. They also provide a nice safe environment for lambs during their first days of life - when they are most vulnerable to the elements and predators.
Here at Kellane Farm we dock tails and apply ear tags on the third day of life. If the lamb is not thriving then we wait a little bit longer. However, so far we have not had to do these things past the first week of life. Lambs and their mothers are turned out into the big pen on day four or five of the lamb's life.
Below are some photos of the lambing jugs. My smart hubby came up with the idea of building them outside my studio - on the eastern side of the house. This provides protection, as well as allows me to view the lambs and ewes frequently throughout the day without having to go outside. This location also allows the ewes to see their buddies in the larger pen so they don't feel as isolated.