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Author Topic: Ewe feeding triplets  (Read 8571 times)


  • Joined Apr 2012
Ewe feeding triplets
« on: March 17, 2013, 07:16:29 pm »
Ewe had triplets this morning 3 pretty even triplets Ive penned her up & there all doing ok but not sure if she will have enough will she has as many ewe nuts as she can eat & plenty off hay? And other things I can do to give her the best chance
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 07:20:37 pm »
Watch you don't over feed on nuts as it can cause problems. Not sure how many is an issue. Depends on breed but she should manage triplets ok just watch she doesn't get sore teats.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2013, 07:44:27 pm »
When the lambs are a few days old you'll be able to tell if she has enough milk - lift them and their stomachs should feel firm and full and they won't be bleating for food.  If they're hungry you'll need to supplement with a bottle.  I try and foster the strongest triplet onto a ewe with a single if I can - not that the ewes can't rear them but it seems sensible to spread the available milk around as evenly as possible. 


  • Joined Jan 2009
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 08:42:00 pm »
We had one with triplets last year.  I thought we ought to supplement the smallest as she was always being pushed out of the way at the milk bar but we couldnt catch the little b****r once she was out in the field and she wouldnt come to the bottle.  She thrived so obviously managed to get enough!


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 10:12:46 pm »
As long as the ewe can count up to three all should be well.  Keep an eye open though as sometimes the ewe can start to run out of milk after a few weeks once the lambs need plenty, and usually it's just the one that misses out.

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

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2013, 10:25:20 pm »
I've got a few bottles at home I'm gonna give them abit tomorrow if I top them up for a few weeks I hope they will be ok


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2013, 02:27:51 am »
We always give all three a chance at a bottle too. If they're hungry they'll have some plus it gives you a channce to handle them and feel if tummies are nice and round.

norfolk newbies

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Grantham
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2013, 09:10:49 am »
Not wishing to Hijack....but seems silly to start a new topic with almost identical heading...
Our triplets are now12 hours old, and mum is not feeding them.
We ended up stomach tubing last night on advice of neighbour, and they picked up and fed from Mum latern overnight. But now they are cold, slightly damp and she is sitting in the corner ignoring them and wont get up for food ( unusual for her). We are going to bottle feed lambs and dry off again ( were hoping to intervene a little less today), but I am  now worried about mum. She is a bit undernourished for triplets (v. unusual in this breed -I knew we should have scanned!!!) Is there something she needs? I thought twin lamb would be prelambing, and it does not look like calcium deficiency ( holding head pretty high, so not hypocalcaemia according to VSS book/bible).
thanks all


  • Joined Oct 2012
  • Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2013, 09:29:13 am »
As a vet I would give her a dose of twin lamb drench anyway, particularly if she's not eating, she needs to get something into her to nourish her. Triplet lambs can be draining during late pregnancy, and she may not have eaten much due to them taking up room!
As for the lambs, keep them fed regularly, if she's not getting up and mothering them, just keep them topped up with milk by tube, as long as they got their colostrum, milk powder will now be OK.
If the ewe has a vaginal discharge, or heat in the udder, a shot of long acting antibiotics may be required if she has an infection there as well.
Hopefully a bit of TLC should bring all 4 round, all the best!


  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2013, 09:35:52 am »
I'd be taking the lambs off her at this point. Don't forget to keep a record of the ewe so you can get rid of it when it is healthy enough to go.


norfolk newbies

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Grantham
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2013, 10:08:08 am »
Well OH has just fed lambs and once he had done that she stood up and let them feed under her, he left her with plenty of hay and flaked maize.
We will get some TL drench and administer just in case....and see if we can get hold of some penstrep...or suchlike.
I would not want to get rid of her as she is one of my faves (and we feel guilty for not bringing her in earlier  and spotting she was carrying  triplets ( and me being hopless at condition scoring!) I blame all the wool....sometimes I can see why they are a rare breed).
Thanks for the advice, I am sure we will be back for more


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2013, 10:48:19 am »
Three lambs demanding milk mum doesn't have... it's no wonder a triplets mum does spend time laid down, stopping their incessant questing. A dose of TLD, a shot of vitamins such as CombiVit - either would give her a boost. 

A friend recently had exactly what you describe, norfolk newbies, except that her ewe was in top condition.  However, her bag didn't feel to me as though she'd rear three, so we left the lambs on (supporting a feed if necessary) for 24 hours so they all got a good start, then sold one to a local farmer wanting a spare lamb for a bereaved ewe.  (My friend didn't want the bother of rearing lambs on a bottle.)

The ewe was still a bit dull and depressed, even after a drench of TLD.  My friend asked her vet for advice and got given Glycerol Plus for her.  She is now up and rearing her remaining two lambs.
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 May 2008
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2013, 02:38:42 pm »
Think it having triplets can take a lot of of a ewe, and if she has been short of feed leading up to their birth she will be energy depleted. Our last ewe to lamb had triplets for the first time, she is an 8 year old ewe and our commercial ewe - mostly texel,  she was only picking at her food for several days prior to lambing, managed to get her eating soaked sugarbeet for energy but she had stopped eating ewe nuts.  When she finally did lamb she didn't seem to have enough energy and had to have assistance, having lambed though she is starting to pick up. Certainly made far more of a meal of lambing triplets than our Zwartbles, and its rare that they would stop eating when carrying three.
We always give our ewes and electrolyte/energy boost drink/feed post lambing which they generally love at this time and it seems to pick them up.  We include limestone flour, Magnesium sulphate, lo salt, bicarb, glucose and malt extract, this is mixed with some well soaked sugarbeet and plenty of warm water added.   Hopefully with some energy drench your ewe will pick up and start eating, our texel x ewe is now eating 3 feeds a day and has certainly found her appetite again.
If you are giving her a vitamin shot you might want to include B12 which is an appetite stimulant, Intravit  provides B12, I am not sure that Combivit does, although it has the other B vits in it.  Hope she picks up soon.

norfolk newbies

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Grantham
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2013, 03:14:30 pm »
OH trip to our local CWG ( now MVF) fairly unproductive (no TLD, and not something else...he had returned by the time SITN suggested multivits), but he has dosed with calcijet. I gave her some ivy which she nibbled and then ignored. She turned her nose up at my delightful looking concoction of porridge, best muscavado sugar, milk, egg and a spoonful of molasses. BUT OH has now given her an 'oral syringe' of lucozade' - 50mL. He was not sure if it was meant to be flat, or how much to give, but effect appears to be instantaneous. Up on her feet and munching hay. Not sure if the bubbles woke her up or the calciject had hit, but the fact that she is eating is a huge relief....
thanks all
we will continue to monitor all 4 and resort to previous advice if any of them slip back.
(re-reading a 2011 post on TL disease, which is also providing many rescue remedies  :) )
thanks again


  • Joined May 2012
  • Huntingdon
Re: Ewe feeding triplets
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2013, 04:36:29 pm »
My bet would be the Calciject, unbelieveable how quick they bounce back if caught soon enough, there seems to be a big problem this year with calcium defficiencies, with several farmers reporting deficiencies where they have never had it before.



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