Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please  (Read 1003 times)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« on: April 29, 2022, 01:48:43 pm »
So we have our first ever rejected Hebridean lamb (in 26 years of breeding!) and bottle feeding is new to me. She is now a couple of weeks old and is out with her Mum and twin sister and the rest of the flock on grass. Her Mum cares for her and looks after her, just doesn't feed her. When we appear with a bottle the lamb comes bouncing over, scoffs the lot then runs back to Mum.  All very sweet  :hugsheep:


My question is, how long should we expect to bottle feed her? This is not a commercial sheep needing to put on weight quickly, or to stop being a nuisance to the owner, just a Primitive ewe lamb destined for breeding. We won't be feeding her creep feed although she may pick at the 'Tup and Lamb' coarse mix for as long as we feed that to the bred ewes and she is picking at grass as the others do. We don't want to overfeed her or cause bloat so I'm thinking about 2 months, gradually tailing off as she eats grass?  We would normally let the ewes wean their ewe lambs by about 5 months (we take the tup lambs off at 4 months or so once they start getting too frisky with their sisters)
Is 2 months too soon to wean her from the bottle?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2022, 05:46:30 pm »
Depends a bit on how much you feed at the moment. And you are using Lamlac I presume?


As long as she is eating plenty I would reduce the feeds slowly down to one over a couple of weeks at least after 8 to 10 weeks, and then keep the last feed going as long as the bag lasts. She will benefit from a bit of milk until she is 4 to 5 months old, same as her mates. You can also start to dilute the Lamlac gradually, but not if you feed real milk.


SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2022, 09:22:59 pm »
Your plan sounds perfect, Fleecewife.  No, 8 weeks isn't too early to wean them off the bottle, but if she's getting nothing from Mum I might be tempted to work out a way to give her a little bit of cake up to 12 weeks or so. As she runs to you for her bottle, could that become running into a little hurdle pen, where you can give her a bit of Champion Tup & Lamb from your hand? She will be stronger going into her first winter with a bit more protein for a bit longer, if you can make that work - and can be bothered. 
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2022, 11:10:16 pm »
Thanks Anke and Sally  :thumbsup:


Yes, it's Lamlac Anke - what they had in Lawrie and Symington! We do have friends with milking goats not too far away but it's just too complicated.  The lamb seems just as healthy as her sister so far  :fc:


I'm sure we can get her to take a bit of the tastiest parts of T&L Sally and we can definitely be bothered  :sunshine: . When should we start that?  She's a very friendly and amenable little lamb. When they first went out to the smaller paddock, we had a pen which we fed her in.  The lovely thing was that her mum would walk her up into the pen when we appeared with a bottle - sheep are amazing  :hugsheep: The ewe wanted to be with her mates, creche etc so we let them out into the main flock once Lark was running up for the bottle. I don't think we'd get her back in a pen again, as the fields have lots of open gates so she could be anywhere (also in with the non-breeders as she runs between the bars of the gates when they're closed to go visiting) so it's a case of seeing where she is then going into that area until she sees us. I think she'll take something from our hands - her mum does.


At the moment she's taking just under a litre, well 900mls today, in 4 feeds, at just over 2 weeks old. The timings suit us - 6, 11, 4 and dusk, 250mls offered each feed. The amounts given on the bag are for bigger sheep so we are just giving her what she takes.  Hebs aren't greedy so when she's had enough she stops and runs back to mum.  I had assumed that would continue until she's eating more solid food, but is there a max amount she shouldn't go over?  This all sounds so stupid but I think I have mentioned that over 20 years ago we had a Jacob tup lamb who had to be bottle fed.  I had a student staying and she took on the job of feeding him. However, she wouldn't do what I said ever  ::)  and refused to reduce the amount she fed him. He was a greedy lamb and on the student's last day after 3 months she found him stone dead.  So that's why I am so nervous about over feeding Lark - different sheep, different breed and different people so hopefully different outcome.


Thank you both so much for your advice. I feel daft having to ask, but bottle feeding is just not something I have done with Hebs. I'm sure I'll have more questions as she grows  :notworthy:


"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2022, 06:51:35 am »
The only time I fed Lamlac (before I had my goats) I made it up a bit thinner than it says on the label as I was warned my Shetland may scour on it. As it is not real milk proteins (or denatured milk proteins at best) it isn't digested (won't curdle) in the same way as real milk, diluting it doesn't cause any upsets, but making it too strong can do.

I don't feed more than a 500ml bottle at a time, except for the really greedy ones who get to clear up whatever the not so greedy ones left, which is shared. So very little.

4x per day sounds fine, I would offer a bit more than 250ml and see if she clears it up, then slowly increase by something like 50ml at a time. I would also stay with more, but smaller feeds until she is at least 8 weeks old. I know lots of people reduce number of feeds to save washing up, but I think sheep in particular do better with more but smaller feeds throughout the day. Have you seen her drinking from the water trough yet? With some of my (slightly dimmer) goat kids I sometimes give a bottle of lukewarm water instead of milk when I reduce feeds during summer. Then warm water in their buckets, which they love. Esp castrated boys.

It is a shame that you can't feed her goatsmilk - they do so much better on it, and much less risk of bloating.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2022, 04:30:38 pm »
Firstly, I would say that a Heb lamb won't need more than 1L a day.  Stonking great muscley growth machines like Texels do, but little primitives will do fine on 600-900 ml, in my experience.

And Lamblac is fine, used correctly and carefully.  For which I think we can safely rely on Fleecewife :hug: 

The key things are :

  • not too hot
  • ideally, same temperature each time
  • scrupulously clean
  • not too much volume in a single feed, less is better than more (1)
  • angle of jaw correct - slightly above the horizontal, nothing like vertical
  • angle of bottle correct, so that no air gets drunk down
  • flow rate correct for age, stage and power of suck so that it gets what it sucks and isn't fighting more running in than it's ready for

(1)   I don't feed by numbers, I feed by eye.  Yes I have a maximum with me (which would be less than 500ml for a pure Heb, at any age), but I stop as soon as the lamb's belly is full, irrespective.  It could have had only 50ml, if its belly starts rounding out in front of the hips, I stop.  And think about how to get milk into it before it's gutsed out on grass, hay or cake for the next feed. 

It's tricky to get one lamb to take cake in these circs.  Usually I would start putting a smattering of fresh cake out once or twice a day in the lambs' pen from about 3 weeks old.  Curiosity will get them mouthing it, and they can start to take it in when they are ready.  Maybe in this case I might try, probably at around 30 days old, taking the bottle off the lamb when it's still hungry, and popping an interesting flake in its mouth.  Do that now and then, not every feed, and let it have the rest of its milk once it's had a chew on the cake.  Gradually, hopefully, it will start to like the cake and eat it properly, and then you can cut down the milk at one or two feeds and switch to a bit of cake after a bit of milk, then see if it will take cake instead of milk for one or two feeds.   Something along those lines, anyway! 
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2022, 04:36:56 pm »
And Fleecewife, please stop apologising for needing to ask, and for feeling stupid that you need to ask.

It's not something you've done before and you could use some input from experienced folk.  What an incredibly powerful example for people just starting out!  Even someone with literally decades of experience needs to ask some basic questions some times - and does so, and gets just as helpful and respectful an answer as anyone else would.  How much more stupid to struggle on and make mistakes, because you worry "how it will look" or whether anyone will "think less of you" because you had to ask! 

So, well done for asking - and well done for breeding such awesome mothers and looking after them so well that you've never needed to do this before!  :applause:
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2022, 10:35:58 pm »
Well any Shetlands that I feed on the bottle (mostly the third one of triplets) will always go up to 2ltrs a day, 4 feeds until 8 to 10 weeks old. All my goat kids (irrespective of breed, so GG's as well as BT's) will always go for 2ltrs per day on 4 feeds until 3 months old, and they all do well.


And I think even a Heb will do better on more than 1ltr a day, but that is real goatsmilk not Lamlac.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2022, 01:01:18 am »
We'll just see what she wants and gradually increase if necessary. She's taking almost a litre a day and that suits her fine, but she's tiny still, being a Heb. I'll watch carefully I promise  :D .  The Shetlands we have had have all been guzzlers and rather happy to get fat (white ones) so I will make any increases quite gradual. I've never bottle fed a Shetland either though.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2022, 01:06:11 am »
And Fleecewife, please stop apologising for needing to ask, and for feeling stupid that you need to ask.

It's not something you've done before and you could use some input from experienced folk.  What an incredibly powerful example for people just starting out!  Even someone with literally decades of experience needs to ask some basic questions some times - and does so, and gets just as helpful and respectful an answer as anyone else would.  How much more stupid to struggle on and make mistakes, because you worry "how it will look" or whether anyone will "think less of you" because you had to ask! 

So, well done for asking - and well done for breeding such awesome mothers and looking after them so well that you've never needed to do this before!  :applause:

It's the breed, they genuinely make good mothers and have lots of milk. We were lucky to get some good stock when we first started keeping the multihorns.

As they say, always look on the bright side of life, so if my questions have helped others bottle feeding Primitives then that's great.

You have both been wonderful with the advice you have given me so thank you again Anke and Sally - a huge help  :bouquet: :bouquet:
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2022, 09:55:34 am »
The only lambs I've had to top up since I switched to Shetlands, Manxes and crosses thereof, have been triplets where I thought the mother had insufficient condition to feed three. 

I do the opposite of flushing, but nonetheless, Lessa (Shetland x BFL) had triplets more often than not (and always reared them herself if given the option, even if I helped a bit for the first few weeks), and this time, when I confidently expected no triplets having retired Lessa The Wonder Sheep, blow me if Minx (Manx x Shetland) didn't decide to come back fighting after a poor year in which she lost one lamb (to pneumonia at about 8 weeks old) and stopped feeding the other a few weeks later.  Maybe she had heard me say I would give her one more chance, as she had been just about my best sheep before last year, and is still a young ewe from an excellent dam.  I shall have to explain to her that 3 isn't better... but she's doing them well so far, without any help, and has plenty of condition and we have plenty of grass, so :fc:

I am ruthless in culling or retiring ewes which can't or won't mother, although I give them all a One Shot Pass for the first year, so long as all they needed was help getting used to the feeling of the lambs suckling the very first time and maybe, if they are otherwise exceptional sheep, for two feeds. 

I had 3 first timers lambing this time, all homebred Shetland crosses.  2 (1 Manx x Shetland and 1 a bit of a mongrel 1/8 Icelandic, 1/16 Dutch Texel and the rest Shetland) did brilliantly, no help required at all, but Gwennie, Zwartbles x Shetland, who lambed first of the three, was an absolute pain getting her to let the lamb suck the first time, and the second, and the third...  (Despite her mum Gwenneth being the best motherer of all our Zwartbles, never gave us a moment's problem, not even as a gimmer, and reared strapping twins every year, hence why I kept on one of her daughters).  Gwennie then pestered and scrapped with the next ewe to lamb (also a gimmer) a few days later, so Gwennie is on the cull list, and that will be it for Zwartbles blood here.  Give me primitives every time! 
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2022, 10:01:27 am »
When you have your mature ewes culled Sally do you have them butchered the same as younger meat or do you just turn the whole sheep into mince or ....... ???

Just thinking ahead to when we might have to cull ours - hopefully not for a while yet though.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2022, 10:24:03 am »
Juliet, I might have missed this - and I know nothing about sheep at all.  But if your ewe is feeding the other twin  lamb, and is otherwise looking after this one, i.e. cleaning, etc,  why is she not allowing it to feed?
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2022, 12:44:34 pm »
When you have your mature ewes culled Sally do you have them butchered the same as younger meat or do you just turn the whole sheep into mince or ....... ???

Just thinking ahead to when we might have to cull ours - hopefully not for a while yet though.

Because it's difficult, with being in a community with lots of different cooks of differing experience, to make sure that mutton gets cooked long and slow, we have taken to having our old girls made into sausages and mince.  (My personal opinion is that mutton sausages knock pork sausages into a cocked hat.  And once you've tried moussaka - or lasagne, come to that - made with mutton mince, you won't want to go back.) 

If it weren't for that one factor, I would also have joints and chops off those in good condition when they go off, because, cooked correctly (long and slow), the meat is incredibly tasty.  Quite fatty, so you have to tip the (often orange) fat off for the dogs, but worth it. 
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Advice on how long to bottle feed a Heb lamb please
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2022, 01:05:25 pm »
Juliet, I might have missed this - and I know nothing about sheep at all.  But if your ewe is feeding the other twin  lamb, and is otherwise looking after this one, i.e. cleaning, etc,  why is she not allowing it to feed?


She rejected it at birth quite viciously (multihorned ewe with two giant prongs on the top of her head so she would have killed the lamb, tossing her in the air and butting her against things) We tried the usual tricks to get her to accept the unloved lamb but they didn't work. We kept their pens side-by-side though and the ewe watched every bottle feed with interest and grew to love her lamb but not to feed it. When we put them out in a small pasture she was looking after it and it plays with the twin, so part of a normal family, which is what I was hoping for.  Having big smelly fully grown pet lambs coming into the house shouting is not my idea of ideal  :yuck:
We have wondered sometimes if the lamb sneaks in for a feed occasionally but I don't think so as she takes a bottle every time.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

 

Weaning bottle fed heb

Started by islaSkye (6.2)

Replies: 0
Views: 1234
Last post April 28, 2017, 10:27:48 pm
by islaSkye

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2022. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS