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Author Topic: Rejected lamb after bonding?  (Read 2899 times)


  • Joined Jan 2009
Rejected lamb after bonding?
« on: April 01, 2012, 12:36:26 pm »
Every year I come across something I've never dealt with before.  Our third "First timer" gave birth on Thursday afternoon.  We put her and her twins in a bonding pen and they have been fine.  This morning, we tagged, docked and castrated the ram lamb and turned them all out into the sunshine.  Now, mum has been rejecting the ram lamb for the last couple of hours.  Any ideas?  Should we bottle feed, should we stick the family back in the bonding pen?  Why has this happened?


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Rejected lamb after bonding?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2012, 12:49:43 pm »
Goodness knows what goes on in sheep's heads!

I'd pen them again. It may be that he's behaving 'poorly' since he was castrated and she thinks there's something the matter with him. I tend to pen for 24 hours after docking/castrating anyway because they often curl up in a corner and get left behind.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Rejected lamb after bonding?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 01:00:25 pm »
I agree with jaykay.  Ewes will sometimes reject a lamb because there is something wrong with it at birth (which we may not find out until some months later, such as heart problems) so this is perhaps an extension of this. Or he might have picked up an alien smell during the castration.  The lamb shouldn't be behaving oddly for long, but if you pop them back in the pen then try them outside again tomorrow things should be back to normal.  To help the mother to recognise him, try milking a handful of her milk and splodge it on his head and the top of his tail.

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

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie


  • Joined Jan 2009
Re: Rejected lamb after bonding?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2012, 02:57:41 pm »
thank you.  I always get such sound advice here!  We have penned them up again and he has had a feed (visions of bottle feeding are now fading!).  Will leave them in for another day or so and will try leaving the others in for 24 hours after the tagging etc.  Will also try the trick with the milk tonight when they are a little more settled.


  • Joined Jan 2009
Re: Rejected lamb after bonding?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2012, 08:51:54 pm »
We have now given them a bit more space in the barn as mum seemed to be getting a bit stir crazy.  She is only letting the ram lamb feed for very short periods before pushing him away, sometimes quite roughly.  No such problem with the ewe lamb, who is lively and dancing around.  Mum is happy for her to feed.  He seems to be getting some, but have resorted to topping up with a bottle.  Hope the little blighter will be okay.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Rejected lamb after bonding?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2012, 03:15:28 am »
Sometimes, if the ewe has limited milk, she favours one lamb and lets the other have the dregs - which ensures that one lamb thrives, so you can see why she does this.

If this is a factor here, then get her onto good grass, make sure she has ample cake, offer the ram lamb top-ups once or twice a day, supply lamb creep feed if you can from about 10 days onwards.  Quite often, the less favoured lamb stops wanting top-ups after a day or two with mum on good grass.
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 Jan 2009
Re: Rejected lamb after bonding?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 06:53:22 am »
 Thanks Sally.  We're going to let them out this morning and keep a close eye, offering top ups. He seems a sturdy little thing so fingers crossed.


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