In New Mexico it is a good practice to shear ewes at least four weeks before lambing. This makes it easier for lambs to nurse and improves sanitation. Fleeces are cleaner and freer of stains if the ewe is shorn prior to lambing. Plus, it is easier to tell when a shorn ewe is about to lamb, and more ewes can be maintained in a smaller area of the shed. Occasionally, if shearing is done immediately before lambing and the ewes are handled roughly, some lambs may be born prematurely and some ewes may experience ketosis. If the ewes are not shorn before lambing, the area around the dock and udder, and between the legs should be shorn. This procedure is called crutching or tagging.