Support TAS

Author Topic: Weak Lambs Help!  (Read 2307 times)


  • Joined Sep 2011
Weak Lambs Help!
« on: April 16, 2013, 04:08:50 pm »
Hi We have had the last of our GFDs lamb today. The first had a single and was fit and healthy up and feeding straightaway. The second, twins, first born dead and unable to revive the twin died an hour or so later never really picked up. As I said the last lamb today, again first dead and the twin very weak and unable to stand. We have managed to tube the lamb and it has just taken 25ml or so from the bottle. Still not able to stand and eyes appear to be stuck shut. We have tried bathing them but its almost like they are stuck, any advice. Will try to feed on the bottle again if she is not on her feet. Ron


  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Weak Lambs Help!
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2013, 04:19:28 pm »
I can't offer any suggestions I'm afriad, other than note there was a post this week on the farming forum about lambs with eye issues:
I would keep tubing, don't bother with the bottle.


  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Pilton
  • Caution! May spontaneously talk rabbits!
Re: Weak Lambs Help!
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 05:00:57 pm »
My gut instinct says the last 2 are premature? Do you know the dates at all?
Intensive care will be order of the day if this is the case.
Good luck :fc:
We'll turn the dust to soil,
Turn the rust of hate back into passion.
It's not water into wine
But it's here, and it's happening.
but passive.

Bring the peace back


  • Joined Sep 2011
Re: Weak Lambs Help!
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2013, 05:35:22 pm »
To be fare I think she is overdue, from when the tup first marked her should have been the eight, he never marked her with the second colour. My original worries about the eyes, seems they lids were stuck firmly closed by gently pulling them the eyes are there and he seems to opening them now. He has managed to stand for a few seconds  so he seems to be gaining strength but still not fed by himself. I did try tubing him again but felt sure I wasn't in the stomach are there any tips that may help. Not easy this last year everything went so well. 


  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: Weak Lambs Help!
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2013, 05:59:13 pm »
Sorry you are having problems Ron.  Our GFD lambing did not go smoothly either this year :'( .
Try rolling the lower eyelid down with your finger as he may have a touch of entropion - it usually sorts itself out but keep a watch on it.  Maybe trying milking the ewe and then giving it to the lamb so that it gets the colostrum.  Good luck :fc:


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: Weak Lambs Help!
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2013, 09:52:32 pm »
Saw a handy tip re tubing on Countryfile where Adam listened down the syringe to see if he'd definately got the stomach and not the lung. He's leaves the plunger out of the syringe and pours the colostrum down. Seemed all very sensible to me. Try tubing again with that method. It may be more successful. You've got to keep the head at the right angle ie: a straight run down therefore chin up. Helps if the tube is in really hot water to soften it some before it goes in. Go in at the side of the mouth making sure you're over the tongue and feed in REALLY gently (an extra person to help is best) until you naturally feel resistance and you've then reached the stomach. I'd do a 50ml syringe full at a time and hourly if lamb is really struggling. Lamb should instictively 'swallow'. Remove the tube just as gently.

Breeders of registered pedigree British Gotland sheep.


  • Joined Sep 2011
Re: Weak Lambs Help!
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2013, 10:49:35 pm »
thanks for the replies, I did see country file last week. I tried exactly the same trick, listening to the the syringe but all sorts of noise including a wheezing! t tried several times and wasn't confident. In the end reverted to the bottle with colostrum from ewe in and he took a few mill. Half an hour later he was up on his feet still very unsteady. He has since had about an ounce of powered milk with a little more colostrum. He is up again and looking for a teat but just cant find it. Could be a long night will update in the morning. Ron


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: Weak Lambs Help!
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2013, 11:04:31 pm »
We all sympathise with long nights! Got a little fella myself who suckles my finger quite happily but needs his mouth held tight on the teat of a bottle. Tried him under mum but he doesn't like her floppity version  ::) . So........I'm there regularly getting tiny amounts into him at a time. Ends up with more around his mouth than in it but hey ho I keep on in there. Our efforts will be rewarded in the end Ron.

Breeders of registered pedigree British Gotland sheep.


  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: Weak Lambs Help!
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2013, 11:22:57 pm »
Oh heck!  I typed a real long response then lost it as a cross post ??? .

Ron, With GFD's you sometimes need to trim some hair from the front of the rear legs - so much fleece there the lambs get lost ::) ::) .  Just keep gently guiding him to the right place and, if you can, hold his mouth over the teat.  Sometimes giving mum something to eat keeps her mind off what you are doing with lamb (and her udder), especially if she is a first timer.
I am not easy with tubing either, so just make sure he has some of her colostrum from a bottle if you are happier doing that.
You need plenty of coffee, warm clothing and patience ;D .  But they are worth it :thumbsup: .  I'm off to bed now and back to the day job tomorrow (but I would rather still be lambing ;) )


  • Joined Sep 2011
Re: Weak Lambs Help!
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 11:37:18 am »
Thanks Bramblecot, I have trimmed away fleece to ease the passage but no luck, she knows were to go but not sure hes big enough to reach. Have kept up with bottle and syringe but only taking an once most times, had to go to day job this morning and left my wife holding the baby so to speak. Ron.


  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self
Re: Weak Lambs Help!
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 11:42:59 am »
If it's not taking enough by bottle to keep body and soul together, keep tubing until it gets stronger. Also, tubing does not dim the desire to suck, so when the lamb does improve it will be more likely to look for food from the ewe.
The SHEEP Book for Smallholders
Available from the Good Life Press

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Weak Lambs Help!
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2013, 08:05:12 pm »
Before using the tube hold it against the lamb so the end reaches to the top of the shoulder, then put your finger on the tube next to the mouth.  This is approximately the right measurement for the tube to reach the stomach so if it goes in a bit short of that the length it's about right.



Started by ramblerskitchen

Replies: 6
Views: 4724
Last post March 18, 2011, 04:04:11 pm
by ramblerskitchen
Weak and sick ewe

Started by Helen Wiltshire Horn

Replies: 7
Views: 1416
Last post July 02, 2014, 07:38:22 pm
by Anke
Weak lamb

Started by Breazle

Replies: 6
Views: 841
Last post February 15, 2016, 11:00:41 am
by Marches Farmer
Weak lamb

Started by Raine

Replies: 9
Views: 731
Last post March 20, 2016, 11:51:37 am
by kelly58
Triplets - 1 day old too weak to stand

Started by OhLaLa

Replies: 19
Views: 2319
Last post May 11, 2014, 09:20:57 pm
by kanisha

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Assist Animal Care Services Thomson & Morgan G.J.W. Titmuss Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Cornwall Turkeys

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS