First lambs rejected..need help

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by horsehelper, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. horsehelper

    horsehelper Well-Known Member

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    One of our new ewes had twin ewe lambs early this morning. We found them at 7 am. Mom didn't show any interest at all in them. Both extremely cold. One died within a couple minutes, but the other one is still alive. I have her temp up to 101.8, she will drink from the bottle, but can't stand, and seems to have no control of her head. She keeps arching her neck back. Have gotten about 4 oz of colostrum down her, given her some Karo syrup, 2 cc of 50% dextrose sub cu, and 1 1/2 oz of Life Line. She moves all her legs, but no attempt to support her weight. We had no idea when the ewe was due, as we just got them about a month ago. Milking her is something else, but I have another 3 oz of colostrum in the fridge for her next feeding. Can anybody give me any more ideas of what to do to save this lamb? My biggest concern right now is why she keeps arching her head back. I don't have a lot of hope for her, but am trying!
     
  2. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    You have done well and there isn't a lot more you can do no other than to keep her warm and quiet - I put mine in a box in the bottom of the hotwater cupboard. That arching of the head often comes prior to death but having said that, had a lamb similar to yours that I didn't give any chances for at all. Got up in the morning and it had got out of it's box in the night and was running around the lounge :) so who knows. :shrug:

    Good luck,
    Ronnie
     

  3. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It sounds like your lamb has encephalitis (sp). If she does not, then keep giving her a bottle, but as soon as she can stand, begin bringing her out to her mother for 20 to 30 minute intervals. If you don't have a jug, make one, so that the lamb can be near her mother. Should the lamb survive, she will be much healthier and happier if she can be raised by her mother.

    If this was a difficult, long delivery, the lambs probably suffer from brain damage. It's very hard to loose lambs, but it does happen. Do not milk the ewe, the milk that is in the udder will be absorbed by her body. If you open the teats, you just allow bacteria to enter the udder. If you've already opened the teats, you'll have to keep an eye on her and milk her out twice a day, but keep her milk and freeze it for future lambs.
     
  4. wendle

    wendle Well-Known Member

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    Wow we all have different ideas of what could be wrong with the lamb. I'll offer another idea. Did you try antibiotics? When you fed the lamb how did you feed it? If you aren't careful milk can go into his lungs and then he will die. Whenever I have a cold lamb I warm them up first, then if they don't have a sucking reflex I will tube feed them carefully.
    I almost always milk out any ewe who isn't nursing her lambs to get extra colostrum for somebody else who might need it. I put any extra in an ice cube tray and bag it for later use. Then if she is a poor mom and it isn't her first time I just 86 her.
    Good luck with your lamb, don't give up hope they can amazingly turn around from death's door.
     
  5. horsehelper

    horsehelper Well-Known Member

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    Wwell, as of 5:15 pm, she is still hanging in there. I haven't tried any antibiotics, since her temp is so low. She's eating better. I've been milking the ewe for the colostrum, but her teats are so tiny it's hard to get much (first timer mom). The lamb has now had almost 8 oz of colostrum...How much do they really need total? She weighs 3 lb 10 oz. I have a goat due anytime, and I'm wishing she would hurry up, and I'd just steal some of her colostrum. Her head is doing better. She can now pick it up on her own, and she's not arching it over her back nearly as much. Could that just be because she is so weak? She is also beginning to put some weight on her legs when I hold her in a standing position. She is now laying in a more natural lamb position rather than flat on her side (of course I put her like that to start out). But now she is beginning to maintain the position on her own. Earlier she would just flop on her side if I didn't prop her up. So, we'll keep doing what we're doing, and hope for the best.
     
  6. wendle

    wendle Well-Known Member

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    Tipping her head back would mean she is very weak, and close to death. Doesn't mean she can't recover though. It sounds like she is gaining strength which is a good sign. Keep feeding her small amounts often and keep her warm. If her mouth is cold that's not a good sign. If you have heat registers in the house you could place her in a box over one of those, or if you have a woodburner you could place her in front of that. If she gets cold during the night she won't make it. Some people use heat lamps too.
     
  7. wendle

    wendle Well-Known Member

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    1-2 day old lambs 2-3 oz 6 times a day. 3-6 days old 3-4 oz 6 times a day. 1-2 weeks 6-8 oz 4 times a day.
     
  8. horsehelper

    horsehelper Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Wendle! Her mouth is warm now, her temp is now 102.5, and she seems to be holding her temp without any help now. She was very close to death when we found them, so hopefully as she gets more feed into her, she will keep getting stronger. Sure wish we had found them sooner!
     
  9. wendle

    wendle Well-Known Member

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    No problem. Hope she pulls through!
     
  10. GrannyCarol

    GrannyCarol Well-Known Member Supporter

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    To be honest, I know more about nursing newborn puppies...

    but I'd consider some form of probiotics too. A cold digestive system doesn't get working very well and, at least in pups, the milk can sour or ferment in the stomach and make them very ill. If I have a chilled pup, I warm it up, give it warm yogurt (about 50/50 with water) and corn syrup to hydrate it, give it a boost and get the gut working. Now, you'd have to consider this in light of sheep care, because I don't have sheep. :)

    I'm glad she seems to be getting stronger, be sure she is warm and hydrated and you've half the battle won.
     
  11. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Has the lamb pooped? Should be a horrible tarry black plug followed by yellow horrible muck if she got colostrum early enough. If the lamb hasn't you may need to help with a warm soapy water enema (or mineral oil) Milking out the ewe is important to help her dry off and you can use the milk to feed the little one anyhow.
     
  12. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    If the lamb gets strong enough to stand and nurse, but the ewe wont let it, you could put her in a headstall to force her to feed it. In a day or two she should get used tio being a mother
     
  13. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    I agree with bearfoot, if the Mom isn't willing then I'd make her mother it. If she's a first-timer the act of lambing could have spooked her and she doesn't have the wherewithall to understand what those little buggers are, yet. Once she knows what she's supposed to do she should be a better Mom the next time she lambs.

    As for the amount of colostrum the lamb needs, what she's gotten should be good enough, if you continue milking Mom then her milk will change gradually from colostrum to milk and the lamb will be fine with whatever Mom dispenses. If I remember correctly, after about 24 hours the pores of the lambs intestine begin to shrink and the colostrum cannot adequately be absorbed, or, more correctly is no longer as beneficial as it once was. Here's a good article about it. http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM989X12.pdf
     
  14. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you have a goat due hopefully the lamb will last long enough to have her milk...you cant let her suck though cos a lamb sucks different to a kid and will wreck the does teats...so you will have to continue raising her. Many a time I would give the lamb back to the ewe only to find the lamb dead a few days later...so I dont do that anymore. Once they reject their baby then its mine to raise...not enough motherly instinct in them to do it on their own the first time. Usually by the second lamb they know whats going on. I had to raise 2 this year that their mothers didnt want a bar of....and I raised them on goats milk including goats colostrum. Good luck to you and the little girl. :)
     
  15. horsehelper

    horsehelper Well-Known Member

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    She's still here! Last night I thought she seemed a bit dehydrated, so I gave her two feedings of electrolytes with probios during the night. She has pooped and peed, and all looks normal with that. Just as Ross described, and just as yucky! This morning, she was raising her head and looking around, but still no attempt to stand. I also gave her 1/2cc of Vit B complex. Poor little snot is still trying, but I'd sure like to see her get on her feet. Checked her with a stethascope, and her breathing sounds good and clear, and she has good gut sounds. Added 5 cc of 50% Dextrose to her bottle this morning, hoping to give her more strength. Mom is just going to be dried off, and I'll bottle feed the lamb if she keeps on. I really doubt she'd take her now, after so long, and she's pretty wild, so I'd be afraid it would end in disaster to put the lamb with her. Of course you know this had to happen when I have a house full of company coming from out of state for Thanksgiving weekend! Oh well, they all know I'm crazy, so a lamb in the house won't surprise them a bit.
     
  16. GrannyCarol

    GrannyCarol Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm glad she is still with you - her plight touched my heart. I hope she does well!
     
  17. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's been my experience that company will love on the lamb.

    Of all the rejected lambs, one went back to the mother. The first time mother dropped twins, then walked away from them, no licking. I found them in the snow, put the lambs in water, dried them, and dashed to the feed store for colustrum. One died, the other made it. The mother loved the lamb, singing to her and licking her, but wouldn't let her nurse. I bottle fed the lamb for three days, taking her out to her mother periodicly so she wouldn't forget about her. We built a jug and stuck them together in it all night. Poor lamb finally got to nurse off her mother. Once the nursing began, the mom was a wonderful mother. Five other lambs did not make it. Sometimes there is something wrong with the lamb, which is why the mother rejects it. This year I had one strong lamb that I bottle fed for a week, then died. I hope this girl makes it, but if she doesn't, it wasn't because you did anything wrong.
     
  18. horsehelper

    horsehelper Well-Known Member

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    Noodle (because she was like a limp noodle in the beginning) is now 3 1/2 days old and making real progress. First pic is the day she was born, and the second is today. She now stands for several minutes at a time, and is beginning to take a few steps. Everything else seems to be going well. I did end up getting her a Bo Se shot yesterday, and that made all the difference. I want to thank all those who so kindly offered suggestions to help her. You all were a real help! I know we're not out of the woods yet, but I sure am a lot more optimistic about her future. Everybody have a great Thanksgiving!![​IMG][/IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh wow..she really looked on deaths door in the first pic doesnt she....so glad to hear she is going well now.