NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Lambs with no strength  (Read 627 times)

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Lambs with no strength
« 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?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett
Voss Electric Fence

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #1 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.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #2 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.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #3 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 :-(
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cattle and sheep!
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #4 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!!
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #5 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?

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #6 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!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #7 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.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #8 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:

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #9 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?
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #10 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!
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 05:51:48 pm by Womble »
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #11 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  ???

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2019, 08:09:58 pm »
It's early days yet. I'll keep you all posted.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2019, 08:29:20 pm »
Have you thought that they may have swayback?

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Lambs with no strength
« Reply #14 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

 

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