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Author Topic: struggling triplet - rearing a single bottle lamb?  (Read 1462 times)

vegpatch

  • Joined Oct 2016
struggling triplet - rearing a single bottle lamb?
« on: May 03, 2024, 11:18:12 am »
Hello, looking for some advice please.  We've finished lambing - 4 sets of twins and a set of triplets.  Triplets are 5 days old and the smallest is now struggling (his siblings are normal size at birth, he was much smaller). He did have colostrum and produced lots of sticky orange droppings so I'm hopeful he has some capacity to survive with care. I had hoped to bottle feed but keep him with his mother - but he's refusing the bottle and she's no longer encouraging him to feed, or standing for him, so clearly I need to remove him before things get worse.

Do I bring him into a cool part of the house for the next few days so that he can't hear his mother and I can spend more time trying to get him to feed, or do I leave him in a pen in the stable on his own - the other sheep and lambs have access to the stable and use it quite often. My inclination is to make him go 'cold turkey' to encourage him to focus on us as his source of food for now but ...perhaps that's a daft idea. 

I'm aware it's not ideal to have one on their own but there was no capacity to try and adopt him onto another ewe, and I don't want to risk exposing him to new pathogens by looking for another lamb to keep him company. My hope is I'll be able to get him feeding well enough that he can cope being out in the field with the others during the day, and will come to us for regular feeds. I could then pen him at night to make sure he's safe from foxes etc., and perhaps give him access to creep over night as well.

Any advice very welcome.  I haven't had to hand rear a lamb previously so am feeling out of my depth here.

Thanks.


twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: struggling triplet - rearing a single bottle lamb?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2024, 11:44:20 am »
I think I would keep him out in the stable in a little pen if heís healthy, bringing lambs into the house isnít ideal really unless theyíre deaths door poorly or cold. Make sure the pen isnít too draughty. He may call for a day, and he wonít drink much powdered milk to begin with, but as he gets hungry he should be more open to bottle feeding. Once heís established feeding, you could let him run and out with the others.


The yellow and red Pritchard teats are my go to for bottle training lambs, they are much smaller than the non vac teats.

vegpatch

  • Joined Oct 2016
Re: struggling triplet - rearing a single bottle lamb?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2024, 12:02:06 pm »
@ Twizzel. Many thanks, that's really helpful and reassuring. He's on the last day of a 3 day course of antibiotics for a respiratory infection. He's responding well to the antibiotic - so OK to leave him in stable, given he's been sleeping in a separate corner of the mothering up pen to the rest of his 'family'?

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: struggling triplet - rearing a single bottle lamb?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2024, 01:04:12 pm »
I should have thought so, plenty of straw, itís not very cold at night now, but you could always put a heat lamp up to give him the option of something warmer.

vegpatch

  • Joined Oct 2016
Re: struggling triplet - rearing a single bottle lamb?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2024, 02:04:27 pm »
Many thanks. Will tuck him up in a draft-free corner.  Hopefully he'll get the message re food soon.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: struggling triplet - rearing a single bottle lamb?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2024, 12:01:59 am »
I've only had to bottle feed one lamb in my years of keeping sheep, but I was determined she should stay with her family. We kept them in our polytunnel at first, with ventilation,  in a double pen.  Both lambs could go from one half to the other but the dam was restricted to one part only.  Initially the dam ignored the lamb she had rejected (violently) but the twin would spend much of her time with her sister, popping back under the hurdle for a feed from mum (can you tell I grew up on a pig farm with farrowing pens?).  I felt this was important as ultimately sibling relations are more important to sheep than parent/offspring.
Eventually the dam stopped shoving the rejected lamb but she never suckled her. We put them all out in the field together once I was sure the lamb would reliably come to the bottle.  I was delighted to see that the dam kept as much of an eye on the rejected lamb as on the accepted one, and would seek out the rejected lamb if she was in the wrong field. They also all snuggled up together at night. The only strange thing was that the lamb was bottle fed.  Her twin would always come with her and stare in amazement at feeding time.
We still have this little family group a couple of years later and I'm so glad I kept them all together.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

vegpatch

  • Joined Oct 2016
Re: struggling triplet - rearing a single bottle lamb?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2024, 03:18:43 pm »
Thanks Fleecewife - that's encouraging.  I've modified my plan slightly - lamb is still with mum and sibs inside, keeping the ewe who's lambed most recently company. He rallied amazingly yesterday (post antibiotics for pneumonia), is feeding very frequently and mum is now talking to him and nuzzling him again.  I'm still trying to top him up and today he finally sucked from the bottle - not much but something.  He even tried a little lamb bounce and is interacting with, and sleeping with, his sibs again.  So, I'll keep them all in a little bit longer than planned and keep up with the top ups. Fingers crossed he gets it soon so they can all go out.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: struggling triplet - rearing a single bottle lamb?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2024, 12:25:11 am »
I'm glad he's starting to pick up.  A little lamb bounce - lovely  :hugsheep:
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

 

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