The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: dixie on April 29, 2019, 04:59:33 pm

Title: Triplets!
Post by: dixie on April 29, 2019, 04:59:33 pm
one of my ewes had triplets early Saturday morning, all by herself, no problems and all 3 evenly sized, they were and are feeding well and I haven’t attempted topping any up as they all seem to be doing so well, today they have gone out into a small but grassy area and mum eating well too. Should I leave them happily as they are or should I be thinking about topping up? I am reluctant unless really necessary as I’m away this weekend for a wedding, my neighbour holds fort but I don’t want to add chores if I can avoid it? Advice please?  :sheep:
In my early days of sheep keeping I was advised to take a lamb away and leave her with two, I’ve only had one set of triplets previously and needed to top up the biggest one, but they all stayed together.
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: shep53 on April 29, 2019, 07:18:04 pm
If they are doing well then I wouldn't stress about this weekend , it will be the weekend after when you may notice problems  , depends on breed of ewe/ condition and age  ( young or old ewes can be a problem , but fit ewes in their prime can be successful )   breed of  lamb ( purebred lambs need less than a big meat breed ) and feed available
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: SallyintNorth on April 29, 2019, 10:37:06 pm
The danger is that as they grow and demand more milk, if she can’t keep pace with demand they can bring her condition down, damage her udder, possibly leading to mastitis. 

If she’s managing well for now (and is still doing so on Friday before you set off, with all three lambs nice and full, not blaring and none of them constantly running under her trying to snatch a suck, or trying to snatch a suck off any other ewes), has a good condition score for her type, and is on good grass and lots of it, she will probably be fine at least until after the wedding.  Once you’re back, either start topping up anyway, remove one lamb, or watch her and them like a hawk for any signs she or they are struggling, and act very promptly if you see any.  In my experience, by the time you see any struggling, the damage is done, and a poor ewe who takes a lot of recovering, mastitis, lambs which suffer a check and take a longer time to get fit, some or all of these things are already inevitable.  But some ewes will manage, so it’s a judgment call. 

Have a good wedding, and best of luck with the triplets and ewe :)
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: dixie on April 30, 2019, 09:03:19 am
Thank you, all is going well still, ewe is in good condition and lambs doing well, they’re out on good grass but not with the others yet, I’ll bring them in at night until tomorrow/Thursday. Fingers crossed they continue. Final ewe lambed twins this morning too, so far so good! I’ve a small amount of milk in stock ready for emergency hopefully won’t need it!
The ewe is an easy care and the ram a Heinz 57, he’s an old boy but done fab this year!
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: twizzel on April 30, 2019, 09:43:21 am
I keep triplets on my ewes for up to a week so they are strong enough to then lift one off and bottle feed. The first week a ewe will normally have enough milk but after that the demand outweighs supply and that’s when the ewe loses condition and mastitis is risky. I’d keep them on the ewe till after the weekend and then lift one off... I never leave a ewe with triplets.
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: epherdwicks on April 30, 2019, 11:56:34 am
One of my ewes had triplets two years running and she managed to give birth and rear them all by herself without any extra help.  Maybe I was lucky, or just too ignorant to realise she might have needed some backup!
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: dixie on May 07, 2019, 07:20:24 pm
A little update, back from our weekend and all are thriving,  the triplets are already in the trough sharing feed so I’ll set up the creep feeder, mums doing great too, fingers crossed they stay that way but I’ll keep a close eye on them all.
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: SallyintNorth on May 08, 2019, 10:36:53 am
Great! Thanks for the update :)
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: dixie on May 22, 2019, 12:17:52 pm
Another update and some advice please. So all doing well until today, I noticed one of the triplets didn’t come at feed time, he was laying down, so got him up so he walked to mum, he’s not attempting to feed and doesn’t seem interested, although nice and fat and weeing/pooping just very quiet, I observed for a while then decided I’d try some milk, took a little while but he did suck a bit and had 100ml or so? Put him back with mum etc and he’s still quiet and I’ve not seen him attempt to feed, do I assume he needs a bottle and concentrate on getting that going? Thanks all
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: bj_cardiff on May 22, 2019, 01:03:46 pm
Sometimes there isn't enough milk to go around and one lamb looses out, could be that the ewe is letting the 2 other lambs drink but she's deciding when they've had enough and the lamb is loosing out, lambs are so greedy.

If its not attempting to drink its probably been happening for a while and it'll slowly loose weight and start to look 'tucked up'. I would bring in away from its mum and bottle feed for a few days until its used to drinking from the bottle. Then pop back out and bottle feed in the field for 3/4 weeks until weaning.

Personally I would always take a triplet off within 24hrs because my experience is that a ewe will struggle to raise 3.
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: shep53 on May 22, 2019, 01:28:57 pm
Are you sure since he is very subdued that he is not ill , thing like pneumonia start like this
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: SallyintNorth on May 22, 2019, 04:59:57 pm
All of the above could be it, as could he is the favoured lamb and does not need to be pestering mum because he’s full because she filled him up first!   And the other two are getting leftovers, so are always hungry, and therefore always with mum trying to feed!

However, except in the case that he’s poorly, then the situation is that mum doesn’t have enough milk.  So you need to be topping someone up, and it doesn’t much matter who - whoever will take the bottle!
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: dixie on May 22, 2019, 05:16:22 pm
Right, he is definitely poorly, I’ve brought him in, put a lamp on if he needs it, given antibiotic and now attempting to get milk down him.
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: shep53 on May 22, 2019, 05:34:46 pm
Does he have a temp ? and what ab ? maybe a quick phone call to vet ?
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: Anke on May 22, 2019, 08:11:36 pm
What's coming out the other end? Is he bloated/tender abdomen?
 If he is almost a month old I wouldn't focus on milk so much, but rehydrate him with water/rehydration fluid and get him to eat some creep and hay/readigrass. If he is only on milk he may well get acidosis.

I have lost ewes with lambs aged 5 weeks old and they have been totally fine just going onto grass and concentrates.
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: dixie on May 23, 2019, 08:48:21 am
Bad news I’m afraid, we lost him, nothing obvious, I guess whatever it was I was too late. Thank you everyone for your help and input.
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: shep53 on May 23, 2019, 09:18:10 am
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: twizzel on May 23, 2019, 09:28:05 am
Are your sheep on the heptavac system? If so have the lambs had their first jab? Sudden deaths like this can be due to pasturella or any one of the other diseases that heptavac prevents, and if he’s a month old maternal immunity from colostrum could be weakening. It would be worth a post mortem this morning if the cause of death is not evident
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: dixie on May 23, 2019, 09:52:11 am
Yes they are on Heptavac but I don't do the lambs, I do the others 4-6 weeks prior to lambing but this year it was more 7 weeks to keep within the 365 days and they lambed a few days later than expected?
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: twizzel on May 23, 2019, 10:00:39 am
I tend to do my ewes based on their lambing date rather than keeping it within the 1 year. I think the earliest you can do heptavac on lambs from vaccinated ewes is 3 weeks so you could do the rest of the lambs if a pm showed it was a disease that is covered by hep.
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: dixie on May 23, 2019, 10:16:51 am
The reason I started with Heptavac was that I lost a ewe lamb a few years ago, pm showed pulpy kidney so now thinking I should do all the lambs this year and maybe next year the ewes closer to lambing date rather than the 365 days? feel like damned if we do damned if we don't sometimes.
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: SallyintNorth on May 23, 2019, 10:26:55 am
Yes, always heptavac so earliest lamber had her booster three weeks before she lambed. 365 days much less important. And if you have a problem, you can Ovivac or Heptavac the lambs from three weeks, as has been said.

Sorry you lost this one  :hug:
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: dixie on May 23, 2019, 10:36:01 am
I am going to heptavac the other 9 lambs, and I will do the adults nearer to lambing next year, everydays a school day!
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: twizzel on May 23, 2019, 10:52:31 am
Make sure they have both jabs 4-6 weeks apart as full immunity isn’t acquired until the 2nd jab. Then if you keep any ewe lambs they can go onto annual boosters when you do your ewes pre lambing (and I do the rams then as well)  :)  I tend to do my ewes 4 weeks before the first is due, so technically the ewes lambing on week 3 are 7 weeks after their booster- but never had a problem. Then I normally do first hep on the lambs 5-6 weeks old.
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: dixie on May 23, 2019, 04:35:50 pm
Picked up 2 bottles today so I can repeat in 4 weeks, so do you do the ewes prior to lambing AND also do the lambs?
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: twizzel on May 23, 2019, 10:30:11 pm
Yes if you do the ewes 4-6 weeks before lambing it will give the lambs protection for the first few weeks of life through colostrum antibodies. That protection starts to weaken though after about 4 weeks give or take, so that’s when you give the lambs their first dose, and then again 4-6 weeks after. This should then protect them for a full year. If you’re keeping any to breed from I would then do their annual booster when you do the pre lambing booster, then they are in sync with the flock ewes (so my March born lambs had their first jabs over Easter weekend, and having the second tomorrow. Then the ewe lambs will have their booster in January which will then put them on the annual booster programme with the ewes).

Just make sure the lambs are dry when you inject as heptavac can cause abscesses if injecting with wet fleece.
Title: Re: Triplets!
Post by: dixie on May 24, 2019, 07:26:24 am
Thanks twizzle, I didn’t realise the protection via ewes wore off that soon, don’t know why but I assumed it was longer  ::)