HELP! Feeding a new lamb

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by decamper, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. decamper

    decamper Well-Known Member

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    The mother gave birth this morning about 6 a.m. One didn't make it and the other, well, being new to this I kept a close watch all morning but never did see the lamb nurse. It acted like it couldn't find where to go, searching the front of the mother more than the back. After my fourth trip out to check on them, I checked the mother but couldn't get any milk, nothing. Called the vet and was told to try anything even the soy milk and baby bottle I had already. Little one couldn't get much action so I drove to the feed store and got milk replacement and a big bottle but soft nipple. That didn't work either. Little one couldn't get it going so I used a syringe. It caught on real fast. Drank a full one then slept, woke and drank another 1 1/2, fell asleep and is now awake again. It is strong and walking. I now that I have it in the house in a huge box. I take it out and wrap it in a towel, put it on my lap and feed it. It is working so far. Anyone else experienced with this way to care for a newborn?

    And, another older ewe is loosing her wool. She is with lamb too, first time. Is this a hormone thing? The other two ewes and ram are doing fine. They all have a great appetite. Should I be concerned?
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    The newborn needs colostrum and it needs it now. There are powdered cow colostrum replacers that work OK, but you should milk out mum and get that milk into the lamb ASAP! The ewe losing her wool is (was) stressed, it might be something to be concerned about it might not. If she's eating well and in good flesh (feel over her back ahead of the hips, the bones shouldn't be too obvious) then I wouldn't be too concerned as you are watching them already. If she gets lethargic or depressed looking I'd take a closer look.
     

  3. decamper

    decamper Well-Known Member

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    The mother has no milk; she is dry but looks full. The lamb is feeding well on milk replacement from the feed store. Just took the lamb out to bond with the mother for awhile. I will bring the baby back in for the night. Going to Rural King for medicine for the mother tonight. Anything else we need to know?
     
  4. CCSheep

    CCSheep Member

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    I would recommend keeping a small bag of cow colostrum on hand during lambing time, since you might not have enough ewes to freeze any from yet. You can purchase from the feedstore and you only mix enough for each use. They should get this before lamb replacer. I have heard different amounts but I try to get 60-100 cc into a lamb over several feedings time for a few hours after birth. I normally stomach tube them to make sure they get a good amount, but if they'll suck well, a pop bottle with a Pritchard teat works fine.
    Good luck.
    Jami B.
    Ellensburg, WA
     
  5. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

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    You write 'The mother has no milk; she is dry but looks full.'

    Are you certain you have stripped the wax plug from the teat? If so, get some oxytocin to give her and it is likely her milk will drop if her udder is full.
     
  6. decamper

    decamper Well-Known Member

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    Would the wax plug be stripped if I tried to milk her? We both tried several times. A friend suggested she might have an infection and to see if she felt hot but she isn't hot to the touch.

    The lamb is in the kitchen in a big box for the night. She is drinking a lot every 1 1/2 hours. She not much bigger than a large cat.

    Rural King did not have anything for the baby or the mother.

    The lady at the vet's office thought the mother's milk just hadn't come in yet but how long could that take?
     
  7. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

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    I have run across wax plugs that are quite stubborn!! Are you an experienced milker?

    I am surprised that if the vet's office suggested she hadn't come into her milk that they didn't suggest the oxytocin injections. It will bring her into her milk if she has any udder. The lamb should also stay with the ewe and YOU go to the lamb to feed it. Don't break the ewe/lamb bond if at all possible. Also, the lamb will learn to find the udder and help bring her to her milk.

    I had a premature lamb born a few years ago. Mother had no milk, lamb had no suck reflex yet. I left them together, tubed the baby on regular intervals, massaged the ewe's udder and gave oxytocin injections and fed LOTS of alfalfa pellets. On the morning of day four, I entered the barn to find the premie lamb sucking the ewe and she finally had milk. This was the first lambing for this ewe and the baby grew up beautiful!
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    How long can it take to "come in to milk" Well if she never drops it she could develop mastitis and she die before it ever does, in a worst case senerio. The ewe likely needs oxytocin to drop that milk and she may need attention for retained afterbirth too. The lamb really needed colostrum before now and has very poor prospects without it. Be sure to vaccinate it at two weeks and personally I'd raise it on a bottle myself in as clean a conditions as you can manage. Even though it is too late for colostrum to help much I'd still try to get some into it. Watch for the lamb becoming constipated, the other thing colostrum does is act as a laxitive to remove the tarry plug from the lambs bowels. Sorry to sound glum about it but you may have tough times ahead with that lamb and ewe.
     
  9. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What type of sheep do you have?

    What type of minerals are you feeding? That stressed out ewe might be telling you something about her condition.

    I think Ross is right. That first milk is vital to new borns.

    Keep watch over that ewe, if the same thing happens next year.......
     
  10. decamper

    decamper Well-Known Member

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    The minerals we are giving them is for goats and sheep from Rural King. This is our old black Suffolk you saw when you were here Steve.

    The lamb is drinking between 4 and 5 oz now. She slept pretty well last night. She looks great! Took her out to her mother this morning and she tried to nurse. I tried milking the mother again this morning but still nothing.

    I will be calling the vet as soon as I get off the net.
    Will also call feed store to see if they have oxytocin and just didn't suggest it.

    The other twin was twice as big as this lamb; this one is the size of a cat, with longer legs of course. It seems to me that consuming 4-5 oz. of milk is just right for the size. I stop feeding when she stops.
     
  11. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was sitting here trying to think who you were that knew me, nothing in your bio other than midwest,.... then it hit me, Decamper! Hi Lynn How's it going? we;ll have to catch up in PM mode
     
  12. decamper

    decamper Well-Known Member

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    UPDATE AND QUESTION: The lamb is doing well, so far, despite my mistakes. She started taking the bottle yesterday. I was told she should only take 2 oz. and that is what she is wanting. The lady at the vet's office said milk replacement isn't good for lambs and suggested half and half. Anyone heard of this?

    Mother and baby are bonding well. Got the mother unplugged yesterday by pouring warm water over her utter then milking her but the baby won't nurse even if she is held there. So the mother plugged up again. Unplugged the mother again last night but same this so I guess I start all over this morning. Will I have to keep doing this until the baby nurses?

    At this point I wish the twin would have made it so it could nurse. The mother tolerates me well though.

    Slev, look in your private messages.
     
  13. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

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    All I have ever raised bottle lambs on is lamb replacer and they have all done well. As for the amount, I give my babies all they want ~ each one is different but usually they start out wanting about 3-4 oz per feeding every 3-5 hours depending on the size of the lamb.

    Are you working with the lamb when it is really hungry? You might leave it with the ewe and skip a feeding ~ chances are that it will figure it out when it is hungry. Much like my premature lamb when left with it's mom, by day four it figured out that the ewe finally came to her milk before I did! :D

    The wax plug at this point should be something the lamb will dissolve when it starts nursing since you have already cleared the original one.
     
  14. decamper

    decamper Well-Known Member

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    WE finally figured out why the lamb wouldn't nurse even though it was looking for supper. We had to hold it as if we were feeding it on our lap and then it eagerly found supper. Duh! how dumb we humans are sometimes. Will work with it more tomorrow to start lunch while standing. She is spending the night with her mother so we humans get some sleep tonight. Daytime visits went well. Mother and baby talk all the time.

    The lamb eagerly drank the bottle at the 1 p.m. feeding. It knew what was going on and what the bottle was.

    Discovered that pouring warm water over the teats took care of the plugs. The milk is flowing with no problem now.

    Sue, good to know you fed your lambs more than 2 oz. The lady at the vet's scared me when she mentions scours and over-feeding.

    Looks like ewe #2 is due in a couple of weeks. Hopefully she and her lamb will do much better.
     
  15. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    I feel for you, Decamper! Last year was our first experience with lambing, and we had a young ewe who, while she loved her little one, had no clue about nursing! I did manage to milk out another ewe, and at some point we managed to get the mamma to stand long enough to get a bit of colostrum into baby. But it really took 2 days before she'd nurse well. After the ewe got the hang of it, baby didn't want to go back to her bottle at all...much to DD's dismay, lol!
     
  16. decamper

    decamper Well-Known Member

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    Just wanted to report that both mother and baby are doing great! Just wanted to make sure the lamb was getting enough milk from momma so I offered the lamb a bottle. She drink maybe an ounce and went to momma to nurse. Thought that was a good sign. She is gaining weight and is jumping around like a little lamb should. Thanks to everyone for seeing me through this one. Glad to report a happy ending.