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Author Topic: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....  (Read 3199 times)

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« on: May 24, 2015, 09:24:22 pm »
What to do?

I was away at the weekend and OH found ewe dead on sat am, he didn't now which lambs were hers (the coloured Shetlands don't have numbers) and just watched... lambs still alive and kicking tonight on my return. Have now brought these two inside, they don't seem empty, do eat ewe&lamb mix (I am still feeding a little bit to allow daily gathering and checking of the lambs and lambs of course copy mums) and nibble on hay. Not seen them drinking yet, but am just about to go down and see if they take a bottle (of home produced goatsmilk).

Any suggestions as to what we should do if they don't take to the bottle? Will 5-week old lambs (both female of course!) be able to grow on with just grass (and I can set up a creep feeder, but don't really want to do that for Shetlands as it tends to make them loose), or do I keep them inside on hay & lamb mix, with water to drink?

they were running with the flock, but are as wild as normal 5week old lambs are... so going and toping the up outside is not possible...
Voss Electric Fence

bigchicken

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Fife Scotland
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2015, 10:14:48 pm »
I've had a similar situation in the past and the lambs did ok left to there own devices, in fact they are still in my flock and have thrived. It's usually very hard to get an older lamb to take a bottle just keep an eye on them to see how they get on. If they are eating hard feed and grass you should be fine.
Shetland sheep, Castlemilk Moorits sheep, Hebridean sheep, Scots Grey Bantams, Scots Dumpy Bantams. Shetland Ducks.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2015, 11:32:28 pm »
As bigchicken's experience - it's a sure blood pressure raiser to try and get lambs of that age to take a bottle.  We had orphan twin lambs years ago now, six weeks old, uncatcheable and full of cheek. So we left them with the flock and they thrived.  After a bit we saw them sneaking up on other ewes, when there was a crowd of lambs around, and getting in a fly suck now and again, before the ewe cottoned on.  So I think it's only worth trying to get them onto a bottle if they start to deteriorate.
www.scothebs.co.uk

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

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Paulie

  • Joined May 2013
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2015, 07:43:21 am »
I've been in this exact situation last week, vet and and farmer both said best to try and get him on the bottle, he might at 5 weeks cope without but won't do as well. Fortunately He's taken to the bottle just fine after a couple of days.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2015, 11:57:44 am »
Mine fought as if I was trying to kill them  ::) :roflanim:
www.scothebs.co.uk

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

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2015, 12:40:09 pm »
Mine fought as if I was trying to kill them  ::) :roflanim:

Yes, the wee blighters (well not actually wee at all, very well grown and plump) are back out in the field. Bottle refused and made a racket all morning... I will watch closely, but the problem is that keeping them inside now with plenty of fresh grass about would be cruel and there is no way they will come for the bottle running in the field...

No idea what was wrong with the ewe (5 yo), but she only came here last autumn and I noticed that sometimes she seemed a bit slow recently. But always came for the mid-morning snack (just not running but at a more sedate pace), always had her lambs with her and fed them very well.... Heptavac boosted pre-lambing, no recent change of diet, no mucky behind, all wormed/fluked post-lambing and as bright as a button on Friday 10am... dead 24 hours later (OH saw her fitting when he came with the food, by the time he got to her trying to see what was wrong she was dead) -  I now that's sheep, but I had normally found that Shetlands are quite a resilient bunch...

Hellybee

  • Joined Feb 2010
    • www.blaengwawrponies.co.uk
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2015, 03:50:38 pm »
Will they take milk from bucket, got all off ours bar two young ones on normal bucket half milk half water.

fsmnutter

  • Joined Oct 2012
  • Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2015, 03:51:28 pm »
Could be hypomagnesaemia or even some sort of toxin if seen fitting and then suddenly dead?
The grass is starting to come through, so can shoot through a bit fast to keep the magnesium coming into it.
If you see anyone else not quite right, I'd get a high magnesium lick.
Hope the lambies keep doing well!

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2015, 07:37:10 pm »
I turn mine out on a field that's been shut up since the previous Autumn, so the grass has grown slowly through the WInter.

Brandi

  • Joined Oct 2012
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2015, 06:15:25 am »
 :wave:How are the lambs doing? We've just found ourselves yesterday in the same situation with the sudden death of a badger face ewe, with no outward indicator of cause of death. We have brought her twins, which she has given an excellent start, in with hay, water and a tiny bit of coarse feed. Try as we may they will not take a bottle. They are wild so again not an option to turn out and catch regularly without causing stress to them and us. What's best - persevere inside which might be stressful for them as they prefer to be out as a breed? Or release into fields in the hope that they can thrive out on grass? No right or wrong answer I suspect, this weather doesn't help.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2015, 09:00:27 am »
 5 week old lambs will have a sufficiently well developed rumen to be able to manage without milk, and particularly at this time of year when the grass is at its most nutritious.
It is obviously not an ideal situation and you will soon notice that they lose their bloom and start to look a bit thin on their back. However, if you keep them on good grass they will eventually make up lost growth.
I personally would keep them with the rest of the flock as you've little chance of getting of bottle feeding them at this stage. Having lost their mum, they'll be a lot happier kept with animals they know, and there's always a chance they'll be able to grab a bit of milk from the other ewes.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2015, 06:12:46 pm »
Lambs are fine and running with the flock, no more attempts to bottle feed. All lambs will get their Heptavac in a couple of weeks time, so will be able to assess them then. They seem happy enough...

kelly58

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Highlands, Scotland
  • Home is were my animals are.
Re: 5weeks old lambs - newly orphaned....
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2015, 10:25:00 pm »
Its a worry, but they are more resilient than we think  :thumbsup:

 
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