Bottle babies and homemade milk bar

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Callieslamb, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    What do you use to feed your bottle babies - lamb nipples or baby bottles? I have some lamb nipples, but am concerned that they might be a bit big at first. What do you prefer?

    Anyone made a milk bar for lambs? Would you share how you did it?
     
  2. LibertyWool

    LibertyWool Well-Known Member

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    I don't use a milk bar, but I do prefer to use baby bottles/nipples. I never have but one or two on a bottle (and none this year!). I do enlarge the holes, as I don't want to spend 1/2 hr waiting for a lamb to suck down a bottle.. I've never tried the Pitchard teat nipple, but I did try the lamb nipple that snap on a soda bottle and didn't like them.
     

  3. Goatsandsheep

    Goatsandsheep Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We use the Pitchard teat nipple on a Pepsi bottle. I've heard that the plastic beer bottle work well with them too. Shelly
     
  4. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    I have the potential of 12 lambs with the 3 moms only being able to nurse 2 each, that leaves me 6 bottle babies. they might only have 3 each, but I won't know until they arrive. I have the larger nipples that go on pop bottles, but wondered how easily those bottles can be washed. The plastic is so flimsy I am not sure they will last. We do do much soda...

    I looked at the Pitchard - but they are $6 each here. Whew! Glad to hear that the baby bottle will work just fine. I enlarged the holes for my people-kids too.
     
  5. LibertyWool

    LibertyWool Well-Known Member

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    Why are you having such large litters, but the moms can only nurse two? I always thought that the breeds that had larger litters could nurse more than two. Just curious....
     
  6. francismilker

    francismilker Udderly Happy! Supporter

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    Back to the OP. I've used a homemade milk bar for calves and sheep. I simply cut a piece of 1" sch 40 PVC pipe long enough to accomodate 12" of feeding space per critter and use Tee's and reducers to turn it out and down at a 45 degree angle every 12" with a 3/4" female adapter on the end. The "filler" pipe that rises up off of one end of it is made out of 4" and needs to be about 3" tall for every nipple you put on the milkbar. This will accomodate the volume of milk it needs to hold for each lamb/calf. (you do need to measure you milk at first though to make sure you're not overfeeding. I just use the 3" rule because it works for calves and overfeeds sheep)

    Now, when you turn the 1" (reduced to 3/4 on the end) down at a 45 degree angle you install a 3/4" male threaded barbed fitting in the end of it and the type of nipples that fit the end of a pop bottle will fit on it with some work. It takes a few feedings to get the critters in to the routine of not all jumping on the same teat but they do figure it out and it saves lots of time.

    The catch is the cleaning. I made mine so it will hang over the side of the stall and could be lifted out once they are finished and hung up somewhere where I pour warm bleach water in it until it's running over. I let it gravity drain out and then rinse it well. It has been working fine.
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Similar here. My Rideaus have more than 2 often, and depending on some variables they aren't great at rearing everything they birth. Under very good conditions (score 3+ body on a 2 yr old to 4 year old, in summer or at least warmer weather, with very good forage and probably a little grain.... not a problem. Upset those conditions and you have bottle babies. Speaking for myself that is.
     
  8. LibertyWool

    LibertyWool Well-Known Member

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    That makes sense. For me that would be a management and financial nightmare to have so many bottle lambs, not having an inexpensive source of milk for the lambs.
     
  9. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes they can, sometimes they can't. It's best to be ready in case they can't. And if you want really good weight gain, you need to supplement at least.
     
  10. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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  11. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    These are $75-100 babies. That helps the cost greatly. Most of them are sold and I will just keep them a week or so to make sure they are well adjusted to MR. The ones the ewe's raise are $150-175 babies once weaned. One ewe had 4 this morning. Finally! I would love the ewes to be able to feed 3 easily, but I also have to think of the health of the ewe and what it will cost me to feed her to feed that many. It's a learning curve for me!
     
  12. FairviewFarm

    FairviewFarm Well-Known Member

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    Callieslamb,

    In last Friday's edition of the Wisconsin State Farmer there is a picture of a simple dairy bar for goat kids. I thought of your request and this evening found the picture on the website. The bottle holders are two part feed/mineral troughs that are available at our local farm supply store (Fleet Farm). Hopefully you have a similar store in your area. The producer probably used a wood bit to drill the holes. I'm going to keep a copy of the picture for the next time I have more than two bottle lambs. We were blessed this year to not have any from the 31 sets of twins and 4 singles our ewes produced.

    http://www.wisfarmer.com/regional_wisconsin.php

    I hope the link works. If it doesn't please let me know so I can try another way.

    FairviewFarm
     
  13. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    Many thanks Fairview! That is something like I was thinking of. Those seem like really big bottles! Or are the baby goats just small? I have several of those feeders around. i was going to use regular baby bottles for the easy of cleaning.

    I thought maybe a 1x4 with holes for the bottles; placed at an angle with a board in the rear to hold them in.....all hanging from the stall wall.
     
  14. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    We use Pritchard nipples on glass bottles from Jones Soda or a few other kinds we found that had the right top (we actually went and BOUGHT the stuff specifically for the bottles!) Vex Vodka cooler bottles seem to fit as well. Never did like the black rubber 'pop bottle' nipples either. :)

    We have few bottle babies, so we hold the bottles ... but I saw a wooden box made to hang on the fence - it had an angled floor, and holes at the bottom, one for each bottle to poke through. You just slid the bottles in, tips out through the holes, and they rested on the slanted base. The wood was well affixed to the fence so it could stand up to the bashing they tend to do. :)

    We also have a calf bottle holder made of wire that we got at the feed store - it is too big for the lamb bottles to fit well, but when they are bigger, sometimes we use it with the larger bottle.
     
  15. beoircaile

    beoircaile Master Enabler

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    If you have quite a few bottle babies and don't want to mess with bottles as they get older- get one of these buckets. They work well, clean easily and have replacement nipples/valves.
    [​IMG]

    The lambs figure out very quickly how to work the nipples. I use clips to hang it on the fencing but it does come with a mounting bracket. They show the bracket upside down in the photo for some reason...
     
  16. PNP Katahdins

    PNP Katahdins sheep & antenna farming Supporter

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    Shel, that's the exact bucket we use! I couldn't find a photo to post or would have. We have three and love them. The most bummers we've had was six at one time so we used two buckets and the third to rotate in while cleaning. Ours are from Farm & Fleet and cost around $20 each, probably more now. I did get the softer brown nipples for transitioning lambs from the Pritchard teat on a pop bottle to the bucket. The red nipples are tougher and work better for lambs after a week or so.

    I also got extra teat units and red rubber washers to have on hand. A gallon black rubber feed pan works great as a lid to keep the cats out. We figure one 25# bag of Kent milk replacer per lamb.

    Yes, you can make something similar using a bucket rather than buying the complete setup. These teat units are very sturdy and work great. Never had a problem with one except to replace the gasket and nipples.

    Peg
     
  17. beoircaile

    beoircaile Master Enabler

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    Yup- Farm & Fleet still has them- they are just over $20 now. I have 2- and when I've sold bummer lambs in the past, I've even sold the bucket too since the new owners didn't have a store that carried them near their farm.
     
  18. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I had bottle lambs, and now with just my goat kids, I prefer the nipple buckets that have straws running from the nipple to the bottom of the bucket. Less leakage, less mess, and less kids coughing from to much milk at a time. The kids grew better on the straw feeder vs the gravity feeder.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Same for calves. Just don't like those raised on the gravity fed nipple buckets nearly as well.

    FairviewFarm, I love the picture that you sent a link to. Sure can tell the breeder used a Lamancha buck over does of several other breeds.:D
     
  19. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    the only ones of those I have seen are over $60...Kind of pricey for not knowing how many bottle babies I will have. But I am sure both kinds of buckets work really well. It looks like the momma can keep up pretty much with the four lambs...but I will supplement so the bucket bar will probably be the easiest...If I end up with full-timers, I will switch to a bottle holder.

    Good to know about the red nipples verses the black ones!
     
  20. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Actually, I make my own, just buy the nipples from Jeffers, the tubing and bucket from the hardware and my brother welds the holder for very reasonable. A heck of a lot less money than $60.