NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: 4 week old lamb making noise after feeding  (Read 165 times)


  • Joined Apr 2019
4 week old lamb making noise after feeding
« on: April 27, 2019, 06:40:41 am »
I have two lambs this year that are being bottled. One is a registered Texel lamb who’s gimmer mother was useless the other a Texel cross which has come off a triplet. Both are absolutely fine and behaving like all 4 week old lambs do. The pure Texel is about a week older and is onto the creep pellets but is still getting a small amount of diluted milk so she doesn’t feel left out. The cross lamb is picking at the pellets but is still reliant on milk. I have recently noticed that after I have fed her she is making a quiet grunt when she breathes out. I think I’m probably just paranoid because I’ve had a pet die from bloat this year but can anyone put my mind at rest? Is it just because she’s older and starting to eat the creep that she’s got less room? I’ve started feeding her less milk more frequently but it’s kind of time consuming. Should I just reduce the milk down totally and try to wean her now?
She isn’t lethargic or colicky and she’s definitely not bloated she goes down after every feed and looks hungry on a morning as usual.
Any advice appreciated ????
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: 4 week old lamb making noise after feeding
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2019, 12:13:21 pm »
I think 4 weeks old is too young to wean, personally I wouldn't start until 6 weeks and then reduce milk over the next 1-2 weeks.

What amounts of milk are you feeding, are the lambs indoors or outside on grass, is the milk warm/room temp/chilled and how big is the hole in the teat?

Sometimes my bottle lambs are so greedy that they drink too fast out of a teat with a big hole and then wheeze a bit for a couple of mins. I would be feeding 4/5 week old lambs, turned out on grass with access to creep, 350ml of cold Lamac 4 times a day.


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: 4 week old lamb making noise after feeding
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2019, 02:20:18 pm »
I feed 500ml 3 times a day so definitely wouldn’t wean for another 2 weeks. Dont turn out to grass until weaned either or this grass/milk/creep mix can cause bloat. My 2 pet lambs born beginning of March are now weaned and eating hay and creep and planning on adding grass next week.


  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: 4 week old lamb making noise after feeding
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2019, 02:22:44 pm »
So I should aim for about 1,500 ml a day? Am I better feeding more little and often? It’s just 500ml in one go sounds like quite a lot of milk to me?


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: 4 week old lamb making noise after feeding
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2019, 03:36:47 pm »
Up to you really, I’ve never had a problem feeding a full bottle 3 times a day. By 5 weeks I’d go down to 2 x 500 ml bottles and 6 weeks 250ml x 2 for a few days then wean at 6.5 weeks


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: 4 week old lamb making noise after feeding
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2019, 03:41:05 pm »
Check the packet for the milk you are using.  Some are up to 1L a day, some up to 1.5L a day.

By five weeks, 2x 500ml should be fine for a Texel type lamb.  I’m usually cutting them down from three to two bottles a day during week four.

Milk must not get into the rumen.  Grass and creep must only get into the rumen.  In general, people prefer to keep milk and grass feeds apart, just in case, but actually unless your feeding technique is really bad, or the lamb is so full of grass there is no physical room for the milk stomach to take the whole milk feed, you can’t cause a problem.

But if you’re not sure, keep them in overnight.  Bottle in the morning, out to grass afterwards.  Fetch in at tea time, feed bottle an hour or so later.  Simples :).

Your lamb is probably just being a bit gutsy and inhaling some as well as drinking.  Ideally, you don’t want milk in the lungs :/.  You could try a smaller hole in the teat.

It might also be worth looking at your feeding position.  You don’t want the lamb’s head to be much above the horizontal, and the bottle only tilted as much as required to stop air entering the teat.  The milk needs to flow down the oesophageal groove in the front of the gullet, from whence it will be delivered correctly into the abomasum, and this position encourages that. 

Sometimes, if a lamb has been bottle fed from the get-go, with poor technique, it may not have developed the reflex which closes the oesophageal groove, and then if it guzzles too fast, milk can get into places it shouldn’t. 

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: 4 week old lamb making noise after feeding
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2019, 09:59:06 pm »
Thanks Sally, I think she’s definitely being gutsy to say the least! I’ll cut a new teat with a smaller hole and see if that changes anything.
They are out on the grass through the day but to be honest the younger lamb has only really just started chewing things and not really swallowing so milk in the rumen isn’t too much of a worry for me. The older lamb is eating a bit of creep and hay but I haven’t seen her touch the grass yet either.


Lamb noise on breathing

Started by Je

Replies: 5
Views: 1701
Last post April 11, 2016, 02:30:04 pm
by Je
Ryeland Lamb - strange noise

Started by Katrina

Replies: 2
Views: 780
Last post September 08, 2014, 07:46:56 pm
by Katrina
5 week old ewe lamb - might be available

Started by ewesaidit

Replies: 0
Views: 798
Last post March 19, 2014, 08:12:06 pm
by ewesaidit
Five week old lamb - WWYD?

Started by toaster

Replies: 10
Views: 2140
Last post May 20, 2014, 02:12:02 pm
by Marches Farmer
Week old ewe lamb straining to pee...

Started by greedyasapig

Replies: 3
Views: 830
Last post January 05, 2017, 05:55:51 pm
by greedyasapig

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Little Peckers

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS