Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Triplets!  (Read 2097 times)


  • Joined Oct 2011
  • North Notts
« on: March 30, 2013, 10:13:35 pm »
My friends last ewe to lamb, has had triplets! They're fine at the minute but he's not sure what to do with them as he lost one last year through malnourishment.  He wants to  leave them with mum but supplement the smallest one with a bottle. He asked me for advice so I said I'd call the experts! I wondered about supplementing one and giving them access to creep as soon as possible. Would he supplement for about 5 - 6 weeks giving a bottle of about 150 mls 4 times a day? Advice gratefully received!
Thank you
4 pet sheep


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • kent
  • Z.Glenfield :)
Re: Triplets!
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2013, 10:16:37 pm »
Hi im no expert myself but most people i know try to adopt one onto a single lambed ewe or will supplement all 3 lambs.
1 cat,2 thoroughbred horses,1 dog, handfull of bird various types and hoping to get sheep again


  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Perthshire
    • Brucklay Pygmy Goats
    • Facebook
Re: Triplets!
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2013, 10:21:32 pm »
Personally I would supplement the one that takes the bottle - saying that when we've had triplets I took the one that was bigger or smaller ie the odd one off so the other 2 were equal - worked for me but it did take a bit of patience at the start- good luck
Pygmy Goats, Shetland Sheep, Zip & Indie the Border Collies, BeeBee the cat and a wreak of a building to renovate!!


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Triplets!
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2013, 10:36:08 pm »
The most important thing is to be sure that all three get enough colostrum now.  If your friend has anything other than three lovely plump bellies, he should top up the not-plump lamb(s) with colostrum or colostrum replacer.   Once he's given colostrum according to the manufacturer's instructions, or for at least two feeds if using actual colostrum, then he should switch to topping up with milk. 

It can be delightful to assist a ewe to rear three, depending on your setup.  The lamb(s) you are supplementing soon learn to come full pelt, shouting their heads off, when they see you approach (or you call them) with a bottle.

The scenario to watch is if none of the lambs seem to want topped up, and/or the ewe prevents them from coming for a bottle feed.  If the ewe is in tip-top condition, and your grass ditto, and a warm spring/summer, then with some additional cake etc, she should be able to rear three.  Otherwise, if you can't get to top up any of them, I would take one off or, if the ewe seems thin, or is a first-timer, and/or the grass situation is woeful, maybe even take two off. 

As to how often and how much to top up - it depends on how much milk the mother does have and how hungry the topee-uppee is.  You can often get away with two topups a day, as the lamb gets enough dribbles in between times to keep going.  But that can be a dangerous road to take, as those dribbles may just be the dribbles that put the ewe over the edge...

Unless your friend lives somewhere that has escaped the cold wet summer most of us had last year, the wet winter that followed and the unseasonably cold and snowy weather we've had in March, then I have to say that this year I wouldn't even contemplate leaving three on a ewe, even with topups.  I'd make sure that all had plenty of colostrum (replacer if necessary), if possible leave them with mum for 24-48 hours, and then remove one or two according to the ewe's condition.
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 Dec 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: Triplets!
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2013, 10:46:46 pm »
Can depend on breed but my mules and Southdown x coped really well with triplets.  I always keep in for a few days so you can monitor feeding and bonding. Easier to get one to take bottle if not enough to go round.

The only time I top up is if ewe has a problem ie mastitis. This year I had a reject but left with mum and siblings rather than try and introduce to the flock later when they think they are dogs or people!

As already mentioned making sure colostrum has been consumed by all is important plus watching for one looking cold and miserable.  I always give extra colostrum just in case.


  • Joined Oct 2011
  • North Notts
Re: Triplets!
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2013, 10:54:20 pm »
Thanks for all the advice - they've all been with mum in the bonding pen for 48 hours now and we've made sure they've all had their colostrum. The grass is very poor but mum seems to have a reasonable supply of milk. He's giving them some cake, so I think tomorrow we'll  see if we can get any to take a bottle top up - and take it from there! Thank you
4 pet sheep


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