our 1st lamb / udder question

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Thumper/inOkla., May 4, 2005.

  1. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
    hello, we finally have a baby from one of the navajo-churro ewes, she droped twins out in the pasture and I found out becuse she wouldn't come in that afternoon, so I go walking and -watching out for what ever it is- that had her so spooked, and barely saw the tiny thing breathing, laying spread out in a dry rain rut in the shade of the trees,

    I thought it was my black kitten at 1st, I called "kitty, kitty" and when it did respond I knew it had to be a lamb, I didn't see another one near and this one was so small and barely alive, all floppy and limp, his eyes looked dehydrated, he was completely dry umblical and all, I shatched him up and headed back to the house as quickly as I could safely manage through the woods from the west pasture, and grabed my milking doe as I walked past her, ( a small miracle that she was right at hand as I passed by instead of out foraging) I clipped her short and began trying to get some nurishment into the extreamly weak lamb, I had to forceably pry his mouth open and squirt milk into his mouth, the 1st and 2nd time it just ran out, ....then he licked his lips... I squirted a few more times and he swallowed! In just a few minutes he could hold up his head for a few moments at a time,

    I knew there should be another baby, and my sister in law was here so she walked back out with me to look for a 2nd baby, she saw it 1st, it was dead, I picked it up to take back to the house and she saw fluid drain from the side that was toward the ground, there was a small, almost quarter sized hole in the skin past the ribs, it took me a while it figure it must be from a crow pecking at it. I had seen crows in the same pasture a couple of hours before.

    With the 2nd baby found and confident that my dogs had nothing to do with the loss, We set out to catch the ewe, a couple of more mouth full of goat milk and baby boy was starting to make some noise, we used him as bait to get her into a stall, them I had hubby 'grab and toss' her so I could check her udder, the teats where clogged shut, her bag was full, but I had to use a smooth tooth pick lubed with neosporin to open the ducts, ... whalaa, ..milk{clostrum} flowed freely!

    So, I spent the next 3 days ropeing, snubing short and holding the little guy up to a teat, every few hours, I trimed most of the wool away, (yuck, she was bred -unknown due date- and very wild before purchase, so it as pretty bad)

    After 3 days he is nurseing on his own now, she will submit to my hand once a rope is over her head now with very little complaint and today one teat was all but completely blocked again.

    So, my question about the udder, with just one baby, and he can't nurse enough to use both sides, How much of a problem is this "teat blockage" thing going to be? Will she heal so that it doesn't close up if I milk her out once-twice-??? per day ? Will I have to get some teat dialators? or can I do with out them?

    Also the babies where tiny and looked starved, emaciated, bony, not at all like my goat kids do when they are born, we think the lambs may have been premies, the one that died still had soft wrinkle-ly hooves. Any thoughts on that?
     
  2. sheeplady

    sheeplady Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    New York State
    I would not milk her out. Supply and demmand here. The more you milk the more she produces. Milk just enough to keep the teat soft and the udder equal on both sides. Put the lamb on that side after you milk some out. At first he will probably just nurse on one side, but in a short time he will learn to go to both sides. Do't mess with teat dilators. Just another way for bacteria to enter.

    I routinely pen my new lambs with their moms for three to five days after birth to make sure all is well with both of them.Its also the time I do their tails, put lamb ID tags in ears and give lamb a C&D and Tetnanus shot. Our lamb pens are three by five feet.
    I don't think the lamb was a preemie. It could have been stillborn. Soft wrinkly hooves just mean it never stood and walked on the ground. Lambs generally don't survive as preemies and as the other one was okay, the gestation period was probably right.
    In the future, prior to lambing, trim around the ewes udder and back legs, and under the tail area. . Its called "crutching" and makes for a cleaner birth and it much easier for a lamb to find the teats. You can also spot a ewe getting ready to lamb as the vulva area gets swollen and pinker. Also the area just in front of the hips will appear hollow or sunk in once the lambs enter the birth canal.
    As far as the lambs looking emaciated, when did you worm the ewe last? Did you give her any supplemental grain the last month of pregnancy? A good time to worm is now, just after lambing too.
    Hope some of this helps. kate
     

  3. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
    every little bit of info helps, she was wormed before she was loaded to come here. [just a few months ago]
    We free range and she was/is wild, so handleing her before she lambed was too stressfull, {she was afraid of chickens, seeing dogs made her look like her eyes would pop out, she tried to take out walls to escape humans} thus her over grown wool, basicly no extra grain, (only for training and treats) we have truely fabulous browze and grazing.

    what about the teat closeing back up? Is this likely to be an on going thing, with each lambing? Will it close up again like at the start? I really had to work at getting it open, the 1st time there was an obivous pop that even bystanders could see happen, it does not leak, afterward even with a full bag. By milking out, I meant removing excess milk at the amount that would lead to drying off for my goats, but then again I can use the milk and may train her for it.

    All of my goat kid singles pick a favorite side and ignore the overfull side then it gets tender and mom won't let them nurse even if they wanted too, why are sheep different? And if it closes up again he won't be able to nurse it anyway. infection would be expected in a dairy animals that wasn't milked on both sides. If I don't milk her, and it closes up will there be damage to her udder?

    She might have a good set of twins next time, will she be able to feed them both if one side is damaged this time?

    All my learning for dairy animals, compells me to want to milk her to remove excess supply, and protect her udder, are sheep different about that? It doesn't seem right to let it close up and poke it back open every few days. It seems I should milk her. Or should I really leave it alone?

    I know that dairy goats make more milk than babies need anyway, and sheep are less likely to, but I don't feed grain for milk from them either, If there is something green out there I don't buy feed.

    I haven't found any info yet on how best to deal with the recloseing teat anywhere else yet.
     
  4. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    I'd milk her. Twice a day, if you've time, just enough to keep it soft, like you said. Her milk should adjust to just one baby. Does he nurse from both sides regularly? Or does he naturally go towards one side?

    I brought one of my twins inside last month because the mom was a first timer, and I do believe we had preemies as well (not even 4 lbs!), and her bag was pretty hard to get milk out of. I did a wee bit of hand milking to keep things flowing the first few days, and then the lamb did the rest.

    BTW, don't throw the milk out, put it in the freezer for possible bottle babies later on. It can be kept up to a year.
     
  5. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35

    As far as I can tell he likes one side, when I hold him to the 'off side' he won't hardy suck and spits the teat out. Even his hooves show some slight wrinkles and are kinda soft at 5 days old, not at all like the goat kids, but he is growing, he runs away from me now and looks like a new born instead of death warmed over. I don't have a fridge or freezer yet, so my puppies should be very healthy!

    This is her 1st time too. Things seem to be going well now, I'll be checking the teat in a little while.
     
  6. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like things are running a bit more smoothly for you, Thumper. Glad to hear it. Our one little boy was weighed at 4 weeks...a whopping 15 lbs, lol! He'll be forever tiny, but he's strong and healthy and keeping up with the big lambs (even though they are younger!) I'm sure your's will do equally as well.