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Author Topic: Bottle feeding novice  (Read 618 times)

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Bottle feeding novice
« on: March 13, 2020, 08:52:37 pm »
I have a very small molly lamb that’s been rejected by its Mum. He looks very underdeveloped compared to his brother.

I’ve got milk replacer which says 1 litre over 4-5 feeds for 3 days, then over 4 feeds for 4 days followed 1.5 litres over 4 feeds reducing down.

Because he’s small I thought I’d do every four hours but also because he is small I don’t know if he’ll take a whole litre! The amounts seem a bit generalised and I expected it to go on weight.

Anyway, I had a non-vac bottle but the test was quite big and he couldn’t suck it. OH made hole bigger so it pretty much poured out which I don’t think was good as he would get a lot of milk in a short time and I don’t think he’d get much benefit from it. I picked up the Pritchard bottles with the smaller red teats and nicked the end off, and testing the flow it comes out the same as from a real teat. But when I fed with this he took a lot less. I was going for 4x 150ml and 2x 200ml. But if he doesn’t drink it all is that okay? Or should I be offering more regularly? I don’t want him to go hungry, or have too much!

Voss Electric Fence

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2020, 09:39:00 pm »
The non-Vac bottles can be quite dangerous in inexperienced hands.  If the milk flows when the lamb isn't sucking, you can get milk in the lungs which can cause pneumonia, even death.  So you have to practise your technique to get the angles just right. 

However you can also cause aspiration with the Pritchard teats if you squeeze the bottle or the teat to put milk into the lamb's mouth, and judge it wrong!

Too much can be much more dangerous than too little.  They can recover from too little (within reason) but too much at one feed can overfill the abomasum and cause complications, even death.

A minimum feed is 50ml, if they get 150ml they won't starve before the next.  If he's small and very new, lots of very small feeds is much better than a big one.

I would aim to get at least 500ml, up to 700ml, over the first day into a strapping great Texel lamb, some would take a litre on the first day or two but most build up to it.

And a Shetland lamb would take about half what a Texel type would.  A minimum feed for a very new Shetland lamb would be 30ml.  100ml or so the target.  250ml might be enough over the first 24 hours, 300ml is plenty.

Anyways, I am understanding you to say that this small lamb is being fed every 4 hours, in which case up to 100ml per feed is probably a good target and you may find he takes less every other feed as he is still a bit full from the one before.  (But better to do the little and often while you both get used to it - unless he is resisting the feed, in which case it is often useful to let them build up more of an appetite ;) )


Do you know how to check when they've had enough?  And too much?

Hold the lamb up by his forelegs and look down at his exposed belly.  There should be a lovely convex shape in both planes; if there isn't, he hasn't had enough.

Then, the way I check that I am not giving them too much is to look at them from above with them standing up.  If I can see a distinct "tyre" in front of the back legs after feeding, I gave them too much!  I want the belly plump but not bowing out.  So next feed, a bit less. 

You will soon get the hang of it.
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

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2020, 10:21:09 pm »
He is a very eager feeder and has found the Pritchard teat a lot easier as it’s smaller than the one on the non-vac. Also because he’s a good sucker I don’t need to squeeze the bottle so that’s good. Much better than the non-vac which, although he was sucking once the hole was bigger, was delivering a larger amount faster. Thanks to BJ_Cardiff and Twizzel who suggested the switch on one of my many other posts  :)

The first feed with the Pritchard he had about 90ml. Second one around 110ml. So that should be okay?

Someone said about feeling either side of his back to see if he’s fed but I’ll try the way you say. I have just fed him till either the bottle runs out or he loses interest. But if he looks over fed I’d need to reduce the amount.

He did seem to have to suck quite hard to get the milk out. As I said when I checked the stream it was similar to when you check for milk on the ewe. I’ll see how he gets on next feed and check his tummy too.

Thank you!

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2020, 12:29:03 am »
Just remembered - some liquid was escaping out of the flutter valve. Am I holding it wrong? Not sure what the valve is for?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2020, 12:50:37 am »
Once he's feeding competently you can increase the size of the hole - gradually! - so he can get it a bit faster.  And / or switch to the non-vac bottle and teat if you want to.  (That's what I used to do, start them on the Pritchard then get them on the Nettex bottles, which I can load into a rack to feed 4 at a time.).

Feed sizes sound fine for 4-hourly at this stage :)

Make sure the rubber is correctly re-seated after you have washed the teat; that could be the reason the valve is leaking.  If the hole in the end of the teat is the right size for the lamb and you have the bottle and the lamb's head at the right angles, you shouldn't be getting an appreciable dribble out of the valve.  But once he's drinking well it won't matter anyway ;)
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

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2020, 07:50:51 pm »
He’s feeding well today! Has taken 150ml each feed. Nipped a tiny bit more off the end of the teat and no leakage now. Put him in a bucket and weighed him on the feed scales and looks to be around 3.8kg.

What is a good way to sterilise/ wash his bottle? So far I’ve been washing in clean soapy water and then rinsing out with boiled.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2020, 11:20:06 pm by tommytink »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2020, 08:20:52 pm »
My usual tactic is rinse out as soon as used in very hot tap water (add a bit from the kettle if it doesn't scald your hand!); the heat liquifies the fats and almost everything drains away.  Store so everything drains.  Then once or twice a day do a full wash using washing up liquid in very hot water, rinse thoroughly again with very hot water and drain.

Every 3 or 4 days do an overnight soak in Milton's or similar.  Or iodine solution also works.  Maybe do all the washes and sterilising more frequently while he's very wee.
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

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2020, 08:29:08 pm »
I used to run my bottles through the dishwasher  :roflanim:

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2020, 11:19:27 pm »
Ha ha, I inherited a dishwasher but being just the two of us I’ve never fired it up!

Here he is having a good drink. He looks like he could’ve done with an extra couple of weeks in Mummy’s tummy!
« Last Edit: March 14, 2020, 11:22:20 pm by tommytink »

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2020, 12:53:58 pm »
Mum and brother are about ready to go out in the field. What happens with this little one? We just keep him in till he’s bigger?

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2020, 01:15:16 pm »
If you’re rearing him solely on the bottle without his mother then turf her and her lamb out and keep him in. If he’s sucking off her as well as a bottle keep them all in.

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2020, 01:50:59 pm »
He’s just on the bottle now as been Mum will push him away. I want to get her and his brother out as I think it would do her good but that will leave just him by himself in the shed and I’m worried that wouldn’t be good for him. I can’t put him out presumably as he’s a lot smaller and less developed and he won’t have anyone looking after him. So what do I do?!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2020, 02:05:38 pm »
If Mum is caring for him but just not feeding him, then 100% the best thing is to put the family out and top the little one up in the field. 

Keeping him on his own is not ideal, no - but are you likely to get other pets as lambing progresses?  And / or get a ewe with dead lambs, who would adopt him?  If so, and the mother is likely to push him away so he'd be on his own and unprotected outside, then keep him in and put the family out.  He shouldn't be on his own too long - and if it turns out that he is, you always have the options of (a) passing him to a local farmer who needs an adoptee, or (b) getting another pet lamb to keep him company.

I expect you aren't sure, so I think what I would do next is put the family in a bigger area - with some grass and some shelter if that's possible, and see how it goes.  Top him up in the field a couple of times.   If by an hour or two before dark you think he's being allowed to curl up with his siblings, I'd leave him out.

If you think he would be at risk overnight but he's keeping with the others by day, you could bring him in overnight, or even bring the whole family in overnight if you have fields and shelter that allow that.

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

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2020, 03:31:17 pm »
I took him out and fed him in the field and have left him out there now and see how he gets on. He seems to have a bond with his brother but Mum is definitely pushing him away so don’t think she’d look after him at night. I’ll bring him in to the shed, don’t think she’ll be tempted back somehow after just getting out! Would it help to put a big teddy or similar in with him? Or is that just humanising the situation? I can just foresee him crying all night. I do have a big dog crate - maybe I should bring him in to the house  :D Just a shame he turned up at the end really else we’d have had others in there still.
Our outdoor lambers are due to start tomorrow so it’ll depend on how smoothly that runs as to whether we end up with any more mollies or if we have an opportunity to try and adopt him on. To be honest I don’t even know how we’ll get hold or near any that need assistance as I think they’ll leg it. We’ve decided to downsize on them and I really wish we’d done it before now, especially considering our field management went out the window what with the weather we’ve had, but it is what it is and we’ll manage it and move on.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Bottle feeding novice
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2020, 04:02:31 pm »
I would probably look for another pet lamb friend for him and rear them on a bottle together, and keep them in with a heat lamp. If you don’t think you’ll be able to get near any of the outdoor lambing ewes if they need help could you not bring them in ? Better to be safe than sorry ?

 

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