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Author Topic: Not a very good mum :-(  (Read 3284 times)

plt102

  • Joined Jan 2011
Not a very good mum :-(
« on: May 18, 2012, 01:36:04 pm »
one of our shetlands lambed last sunday evening. As all our other shetlands lambed outside with no problems and were good mums we left her to get on with it. We noticed the next day that she kept turning to face and lick baby when he was hungry but wouldn't let him near her teats or back end in general. We gave him a dose of colostrum from a bottle which he gobbled down.
We thought that as she was still interested in him, that the best thing would be not to interfere and to let her get on with it. by the following day, I had to top him up with a bottle as he wasx so cold and hungry and we put them in te stable to see if it would help them bond. I am now at a point where I am going out every few hours, holding her to let him feed (getting butted and bitten alot) and then topping him up with a bottle to ensure he is full and happy.
 
I checked the teats when we first put her in the stable and there was milk coming out and she was very full but as time goes on, there is less and less milk coming and her udders aren't as large - could she bbe drying up already?. She seems to not like him suckling and I was wondering if it might be hurting her (him biting or mastitis altough I cant see any signs of anything wrong with her)
Should I keep persevering and hope that she will eventually come back into milk with his stimulation and that this might help with mastitis etc or should I let them both out with the others again and just bottle feed him?
Any advice welcome. Thanks

dixie

  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: Not a very good mum :-(
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2012, 01:48:10 pm »
Is she a first timer? I always pen mine up tight for 24 hours to mother up. You need to feel for mastitis, is the udder hot and hard? Is the milk normal looking? A jab of anti biotic to be sure is a good idea, don't take the lamb away from her, he will help if it is mastitis and will help to stimulate her milk too, I would pen her up a square of hurdles is ideal, top him up with a bottle but not so he is full, maybe 150ml or so every 4 hours, so that he still tries from her.

plt102

  • Joined Jan 2011
Re: Not a very good mum :-(
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2012, 01:55:52 pm »
Yes she is a first timer. Her teats are soft and not warm. There is a small amount of milk but she is not very bagged up.
We have GFD's and those first timers were bought in for 48 hours to make sure the babies knew where the teats were (very fluffy) but we were so lucky with the other shetlands that they were up and suckling their babies within the hour so we left them be.
The are in a small stable, perhaps 2m x 2m with food and water and bedding. I go out every 4 hours (ish) and he is taking about 150 ml a time. I added some glucose too yesterday to perk him up and give him a bit more energy to keep sucking. He must be getting some milk as he keeps trying but they do both look quite unhappy...
I'll keep persevereing then and hope that her milk starts speeding up and keep a close eye on her for any signs of mastitis.

dixie

  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: Not a very good mum :-(
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 02:34:28 pm »
Some just need a little time to become mothers! Keep them penned and persevere, try not to increase the bottle milk though, as he is still trying and she does have milk it will come, if he is really hungry he will holler! It would be unusual for her milk to dry up once started, the more he takes the more she'll produce, give her plenty of food, and hay, fingers crossed she,ll come right.

MrsJ

  • Joined Jan 2009
Re: Not a very good mum :-(
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 03:07:38 pm »
We had a first time mum (Wiltshire Horn) who was fine for the first 24 hours with her twins whilst in the pen, but then wouldn't let the ram lamb suckle.  She would run to him if he bleated and would call to him when we came into the field.  She would lick him and smell him and was fine with his sister, but despite penning them up for anther 48 hours, she would never let him suckle.  We ended up leaving them together, but bottle feeding him.

humphreymctush

  • Joined Jul 2010
  • orkney
Re: Not a very good mum :-(
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 04:54:56 pm »
Ive seen twins where one has been regected but learns to sneak its milk from behind while the favoured one is sucking in the normal way

Bramblecot

  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: Not a very good mum :-(
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 07:52:53 pm »
One of my Shetlands was like this with her first lamb - we thought her milk had stopped.  But we penned her for a week (I'm sure she still hates me) and the only thing that cheered her up were the branches of hazel, willow and ivy I put in the pen.  The lamb was fine in the end and she has gone on to be a great mum raising twins  :thumbsup:

plt102

  • Joined Jan 2011
Re: Not a very good mum :-(
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2012, 08:39:43 pm »
lots of coaxing and patience and now she is not butting me but when I go into the stable she quietly lets him in to feed. Tried to just stand there and not interfere but she looks like she is doing well now. Didn't give a bottle at all today so I hope little un keeps persisting. Might let them out for a breather tomorrow to give us a chance to tidy up the stable and then pen them again at night. Thanks for the advice. Seems almost every sheep is completely different. pity they cant read books about how sheep should behave :-)

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Not a very good mum :-(
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 11:46:17 pm »
This year I reaped the rewards for letting some of my poor mothering ewes 'have another go' because they were only shearlings last time, all were wiltshires and all mismothered again. All who succesfully reared lambs last time did so again. On this note, I would say allow the ewe to raise her lambs, but if you have to help her like this, remove her form your breeding stock and keep a lamb out of a better ewe for a replacement. It really does save heartache in the long run.


There should be absolutley no need to pen ewes for the sake of her accepting her offspring - winter lambing flocks do it to avoid the lambs getting chilled and so that the shepherd can assist any ewes who need it without having to wade through the snow or roll around in the mud. Penning sheep indoors in May sounds like you are just asking for disease, if you must pen them Apr/May, try to do it outside, maybe under some trees or in the lee of the wind if it is as nasty as it was mid April.

plt102

  • Joined Jan 2011
Re: Not a very good mum :-(
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2012, 09:53:53 am »
No success. We are now basically bottle feeding him. Mum still looking after him in general but he is hungry all the time. Tried penning them for another 4 days but as soon as we let her out she went back to how she was before. The other two shearling ewes had a bit of an excuse. The first was a GFD and youngster needed guidance due to too much wool and the other was a shetland that we had to help a little with the delivery so kept them in for 24 hours to check they were OK. So I think those girls will be OK to have another go.
We'll have a good chat about whether she should go to the freezer later in the year. At least her little one is a cross breed boy so that decision is easy. Thanks for your advice.

 

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