The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: Womble on May 01, 2019, 04:23:13 pm

Title: Lambs with no strength
Post by: Womble on May 01, 2019, 04:23:13 pm
Hi folks, Our last ewe lambed 36 hours ago. The lambs were really weak, so because it was late, I milked the ewe, tubed the lambs and went to bed so I didn't have to worry about them suckling.

The problem is though, that there's been no change today. They spend all their time asleep, and though they can raise their heads when woken, neither lamb is making any attempt to stand. Also, if I try to make them stand, they just fall over again, without trying at all.

It might be worth mentioning that whilst labour was not particularly long, I did assist with both births - the first lamb had a leg back, and the second both legs back. Could this be because they weren't vigorous enough to wriggle themselves into the correct position on their own? From raddle records, I think they were born about three days early.

Anyway, they've had kickstart and are getting Mum's colostrum tubed every few hours. However, does anybody know what might be going on, and what we should do about it?
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: twizzel on May 01, 2019, 04:36:28 pm
Could just be they need a bit of time to get going. Have you got them under a heat lamp? In my experience heat will do wonders for weaker lambs. Any of ours that are slow to get going go under one. I've got a calf under a lamp today  :raining:  I would just keep persevering with tubing and keeping them warm.
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: Womble on May 01, 2019, 04:46:15 pm
Yes, good point. They are in a dry barn with plenty of bedding and a heat lamp.
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: Womble on May 01, 2019, 05:23:26 pm
Oh, another question - how much and how often would you tube them?  They don't have fuel gauges :-(
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: PipKelpy on May 01, 2019, 05:45:53 pm
Vet always told us little and often. I don't like tubing so have used a small syringe to try and encourage the sucking reflex. Raddle marks? Ha! I start watching from 140 days due to the fact that mine drop early and don't talk!!
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: twizzel on May 01, 2019, 06:06:24 pm
Every 4 hours, 150-200ml a time (that’s for a commercial size lamb) is what I would do. 3 days early wouldn’t worry me, anything more than a week early is dicey ground but 3 days should be fine. Did the ewe get fed enough in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy- what condition is she in?
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: Womble on May 01, 2019, 06:23:21 pm
Hi Twizzel, that's what I've been doing. I'm just used to lambs up and sucking within half an hour, so this one is new to me.

The ewe was fed the same as all the rest and is CS2, so a little thinner than I'd like. However, she wants the lambs, and has milk.

PipKelpy - fair enough! We find ours usually give birth at 143 to 146 days, which I believe is a bit less than other breeds anyway? This one was at 140 we think, so not too much of an outlier, but I thought perhaps worth mentioning. If they gain some strength, I'll hold them on the ewe to suck. However, at least this way they're not getting used to the bottle (and excluding teats later), and I know how much they've had!
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: bj_cardiff on May 01, 2019, 06:40:39 pm
I would put under a heat lamp too, if you've tubed them I'd leave it at least 4hrs or so under the lamp before offering a bottle, sometimes they come around quickly and will suck, sometimes it takes a bit longer.
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: shep53 on May 01, 2019, 07:15:40 pm
Not good that they still cannot stand at this stage, you can only keep going and hope,  they should get stronger given time .   Warmth  and  50ml per kg  with  200ml per kg in 24hrs   :fc:
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: kanisha on May 01, 2019, 07:19:21 pm
Just a thought... If they are red and warm with no need to go looking for food do they have any incentive to get up?
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: Womble on May 01, 2019, 07:27:20 pm
Perhaps not, but I can pick up any other sleeping lamb I fancy and stand it up without it immediately flopping over again.

I've got videos, but don't know how I would post them here?

An experienced farmer friend said possible vitamin E deficiency, and recommended I give them vitesel (vitamin E plus selenium). Watch this space!
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: twizzel on May 01, 2019, 07:39:10 pm
It might be worth getting the vet to look before the weekend; they will give a realistic view on whether it’s worth persevering or whether to call it a day  ???
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: Womble on May 01, 2019, 08:09:58 pm
It's early days yet. I'll keep you all posted.
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: Anke on May 01, 2019, 08:29:20 pm
Have you thought that they may have swayback?
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: shep53 on May 01, 2019, 08:53:28 pm
An injection of vit E might help and won' hurt  that and iodine can certainly cause dopey calves .  Normally swayback and white muscle  are progressive  as the lamb gets older
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: Womble on May 02, 2019, 05:53:37 pm
OK, so I spoke to the vet. He recommended an injection of vitamin E plus celinedion. Apparently that should help their hearts to go on     :coat: .
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: shep53 on May 02, 2019, 07:20:18 pm
Are you sure he didn't say selenium   ,google keeps telling me celinedion is a Canadian singer  :innocent:
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: Penninehillbilly on May 03, 2019, 02:29:49 pm
How are they today Womble?
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: Womble on May 03, 2019, 04:00:24 pm
Are you sure he didn't say selenium   ,google keeps telling me celinedion is a Canadian singer  :innocent:


OK, I surrender! The phonecall was quite faint and I was all by myself. However, that's the way it is. Now a new day has come, the power of love has made me think twice; perhaps he did say selenium after all.

So, snapping back into serious mode for a second, they had the injection yesterday afternoon and now seem to be slowly making progress (thanks for asking, Penninehillbilly!). They can now stand unaided, but still need help to suckle. Luckily Mum is the patient sort, so hopefully we'll get there. Watch this space!
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: DartmoorLiz on May 03, 2019, 05:42:39 pm
Hi Womble, I read somewhere that lambs that have been oxygen deprived at birth might take a while to stand.  If you helped them both then I guess labour was prolonged (or else why intervene?) and if prolonged then O2 supply to the placenta and therefore to the lambs might have been low for some time.  Frightening words like hypoxic brain injury come to mind.


How are they now?
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: Womble on May 06, 2019, 11:40:33 am
Hi Liz, Actually labour wasn't all that prolonged - I just happened to spot things weren't quite right, so intervened quickly rather than wait for things to get worse!


The good news is that both lambs are now up and sucking on their own, so I'm hopeful they'll now make a full recovery. Was it the vitamin E? we'll probably never know. But I think all's well that ends well :thumbsup: and we'll take what steps we can to prevent it from happening again.
Title: Re: Lambs with no strength
Post by: nessjw on May 06, 2019, 12:29:41 pm

That's great news... :D


When going the extra mile pays of its good to hear.