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Author Topic: Help! Advice on bottle feeding lambs with ewe with mastitis.  (Read 391 times)

JFW67

  • Joined Apr 2020
  • Co. Derry
    • Valkyrie Craft: Handmade Canoes and Kayaks
Looking for advice on bottle feeding . . .

One of my ewes produced triplets.  One died on day two having gained no weight despite tubing her (I clearly acted too late) - couldnít work out why since she was feeding.
Of the two remaining another was not gaining weight so I started tubing her on day three, twice, trying to avoid interfering with the bond with the ewe.
The third lamb is doing fine.
Day four with little Improvement it finally dawned on me maybe the milk supply was an issue.  Checked the ewe properly and she clearly has mastitis.  I have intermammery antibiotics into the udder, a five day course of injected antibiotics and an anti inflammatory/ pain killer prescribed by my vet.  Hopefully she will be okay.

The vet advises keeping an eye on the healthy lamb to see he remains in good condition but that the smaller one will need feeding.  Bottle better than tubing to avoid issues with potential harm from the tube.  He also advises trying to ensure the smaller also feeds from the mum to maintain the bond.

So . . .  What I am after is advice on how to bottle feed top up in a manner that will do this.

I have never had to bottle feed at this stage. (40 lambs over three years and this is both the first year I have lost a lamb and the first year I am going to have to bottle feed.  Its also the first time Iíve had triplets and have two sets!).

Any help gratefully received.

John

« Last Edit: April 07, 2024, 05:19:50 pm by JFW67 »
Mistakes teach best.  😳🙄😉

messyhoose

  • Joined Nov 2017
hi ive bottle fed all my rescues and worked on sheep dairies where lambs taken after day one (for colostrum intake). Do you really mean "ad lib" feeding? This is what is done at the dairy (ie large scale feeding in age groups)- with a machine that mixes powder so that cool milk is available when ever the lamb sucks the rubber teats. They take smaller feeds and so less likelt to get bloat.
My lot were bottle fed and so not ad lb: feeding every few hours for first week then increasing the time between feeds to lessen the number of feeds whie increasing the amount fed at each feed (for commercial breeds the lamb milk bags have advisory charts on the back for an appropriate timetable- i had to adapt as have tiny primitives)
If you keep the lamb with mom its not impossible to just feed one but most normal that both would need supplementing if moms milk is the issue. Its easier if mom is penned for a few days so the lambs learn you are an alternative milk supply. (i had to feed 2 lambs with mom loose and for the first week had to chase and catch them each feed til they got used to the whole idea- after that i just had to walk into field pointing the bottles at them and theyd run up, drink, then run back to mom again) I only fed them 2 x a day- they got the rest from mom. If you are expecting the natural milk supply to come back you dont want to make them too reliant on you but you do need to keep an eye out for a "very hungry lamb" which suggests mom is giving them nothing (hunched, bleating, hollow sides)
If on the other hand you have 2 sets of triplets you could leave mastitis mom with one lamb, take the sicker one and one from the other triplet family as bottle lambs- raised in pairs is easier and better for their welbeing.

JFW67

  • Joined Apr 2020
  • Co. Derry
    • Valkyrie Craft: Handmade Canoes and Kayaks
Hello Messyhoose,

Thank you for your reply.  I clearly miss understood the ad lib term!

Your information is very useful.  The ewe is currently still penned since I need to give her antibiotics for the next four days and donít fancy having to chase her about - sheís less fond of me just t the moment!  This means at least four days to get the lamb/s used to bottle feeding.

Iím thinking only the smaller is of concern.  The bigger one heads for a drink every time the smaller has a go and often just pushes her off.

The other triplets are doing fine and Iím wary of making a problem for myself by meddling.

Iím struggling to get the lamb to drink from a bottle as yet!

Thank you again.

John
Mistakes teach best.  😳🙄😉

messyhoose

  • Joined Nov 2017
Re: Help! Advice on bottle feeding lambs with ewe with mastitis.
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2024, 03:05:08 pm »
there are various tricks farmers will swear by, re bottling a lamb. Id suggest try not to get too aggitated: it can be frustrating when all you are doing it trying to help them and they just clamo on the teat and wont suck!
I had one wildy i found abandoned and she wouldnt drink for a few days, then just as i was getting desperate i introduced her to my other sheep and she immediately wanted to suckle- so i grabbed her and put the rubber teat in her mouth and presto!
I would suggest (if you havent already) tried bottling in a natural position, ie lamb stood up not lying in your lap, using your arms or hands to partially cover the eyes to emulate the "under the back legs" feeling. I tend to find that works if the lamb is between your legs and facing away from you. Make sure milk isnt cold or too hot (blood temp is right) dont be encouraged to widen the teat hole as if not sucking they will choke, but you can squeeze the teat sides whn it is in the lambs mouth to squirt some drops in, also tickling the throat to encourage swallowing, and finally rubbing their bum (mom would sniff their bum when suckling to make sure its their baby back there.
Another trick if they are clamping on is to try pulling the teat slowly out their mouth.....
good luck and keep perservering, im sure you will all make it just fine in the end! :)

 

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