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Author Topic: Do I leave dead lamb with ewe?  (Read 4073 times)


  • Joined Apr 2011
Do I leave dead lamb with ewe?
« on: April 11, 2013, 05:16:03 pm »
One of my ewes gave birth to a lamb today which was very weak. She lambed outside and I couldn't get them penned up inside together because the lamb wouldn't bleat and she wouldn't follow me. In the end I brought the lamb in but it sadly died.
She was bleating alot, so I decided to put the dead lamb back out with her, in the hope that she'll abandon it, rather than her looking for it all the time.
I'm now wondering if that was the right thing to do? Any advice welcome.
Joanne xxxx
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Fife Scotland
Re: Do I leave dead lamb with ewe?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 05:24:38 pm »
I personally would not leave the dead lamb with her if you cant foster an other lamb on to her the quicker you take the lamb away the quicker she will get over her loss
Shetland sheep, Castlemilk Moorits sheep, Hebridean sheep, Scots Grey Bantams, Scots Dumpy Bantams. Shetland Ducks.

The Irish Shepherd

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Do I leave dead lamb with ewe?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 06:00:07 pm »
Try and catch her by feeding some nuts/cake on the ground. If you leave her without a lamb, she could easily get mastitis. Skin her own lamb and put it on over a orphan lamb, give it a coating with warm water and detol, then coat the ewes nose in detol.


  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Do I leave dead lamb with ewe?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 06:15:11 pm »
We don't have any orphans and only one ewe left to lamb. If she has twins we could foster one on, but it would have to be soon I suppose.
I'm not sure how soon after she'd still accept one?

And would taking the dead one away now lessen the chance of her accepting a new one?
J xxxxx

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Do I leave dead lamb with ewe?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2013, 06:53:02 pm »
You could always put her in an adopter until she accepts the new lamb but you'll need to milk her off several times a day to stop her drying up.  It may be easier to put her on restricted water and good straw for a day so she dries up quickly.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Do I leave dead lamb with ewe?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2013, 11:36:41 pm »
What a horrid experience for you. :bouquet:

If you have the time to support an adoption then she probably will take another lamb if you can get one within a couple of days.  Skinning the dead lamb and putting its jacket on the adoptee will help but a bereaved ewe will usually eventually take an adoptee - sometimes it takes a week but they usually come round once the lamb's poo smells of the ewe's milk.  Keep them penned together and support the lamb to feed until no longer needed - or use an adopter, they do seem to work though I've never used one myself.

Irish Shepherd, I'm not sure about using Dettol - the ewe will lick the lamb and isn't Dettol somewhat toxic if ingested?

Joanne, in case you have a similar situation again:

You should be able to get the ewe to follow the lamb even if the lamb won't bleat.  Hold the lamb near to the ground and move slowly, keeping the lamb just in front of the ewe so she can see and smell it.  Make bleating sounds yourself - each shepherd has his/her own lamb noise, mine is a 'meep meep', you'll refine it as you use it and see what seems to work.  Be prepared to go back to the ewe and put the lamb in front of her nose time and time again if necessary - move slowly in small stages, if she keeps breaking back then put the lamb on the ground and let her have time with it, lick it and smell it, before moving it again. 

If you still can't get her to follow the lamb then, if the lamb can walk, you can drive the ewe and lamb to where you want them.  If the lamb can't walk you'll need an accomplice; one of you carries the lamb alongside the ewe and the other drives from behind.  Otherwise catch her and, if you don't have a trailer, manhandle her to where you need her so you can pen her with her lamb.  Otherwise make a pen around her and the lamb in the field.
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 Apr 2011
Re: Do I leave dead lamb with ewe?
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2013, 07:42:01 am »
Thanks Sally.
The ewe seems a bit better today. I know she will get over it but its so sad.
Great advice for the future. I think maybe I was too impatient and panicking a bit.
J xxxx


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