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Author Topic: A few musings about the Shepherdess  (Read 3950 times)

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
A few musings about the Shepherdess
« on: February 20, 2013, 09:08:24 am »
We bought a Shepherdess this year for our orphan lambs. Read rave reviews about them so thought we would give it a go. Our first batch of orphans are now between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 weeks old and been on the shepherdess for the majority of the time we've had them (3 and 4 weeks respectively). They have thrived, look fantastic but given the chance would drink us out of house and home! We've kept the quantity to 1.5 litres a day however they now empty the feeder within 30 mins of putting new milk in, and are still eating creep and hay. So today I've taken the feeder out- it's given them the kick start boost that they needed and they are huge! And will now go on 2 x 500ml bottles a day with ad lib creep and hay with a view to weaning in 2 weeks.
I'm about to move the Shepherdess onto our 2nd batch of orphans that arrived this weekend- my thinking being it will benefit these guys more than the first batch who have now almost outgrown it.
So whilst our orphans look fantastic, well covered and now moving onto creep, we've had a few problems with the feeder- they have chewed through teats as there is not always milk in the feeder- if we kept it topped up 24/7 they wouldn't be moving onto solids. One of the grey fittings on the front of the feeder broke- the small rubber diaphram inside perished so the teat deflated... but a quick call to the retailer we got it from and they sent out a new fitting. We've added a 3rd teat onto the bucket too which is great.
Just thought this might help those of you thinking of buying one, it certainly is less hassle- just clean the tubes out once a day and replace the water in the bottom once a week. The lambs look markedly better too and are possibly 7-10 days ahead of other lambs their age...
 
 
 

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: A few musings about the Shepherdess
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2013, 11:57:39 am »
Haven't used one myself - we tend to rely on creative fostering - but how many lambs are sharing a teat?  They soon cotton on if there's competition for what's available.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: A few musings about the Shepherdess
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2013, 12:03:28 pm »
I am told that you have to just let them work through the initial gutsy drinking-you-out-of-house-and-home stage until they get the message that there's always some there, whereupon they get more relaxed and just take little and often, which is what's best for them. 

But if the thing is sometimes empty then they never get that confidence, so of course each lamb will drink as much as it can possibly get each time it gets onto a teat. ::)

I've never used one myself, though, so can't tell you if that really works or not.
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

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: A few musings about the Shepherdess
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 01:57:02 pm »
Haven't used one myself - we tend to rely on creative fostering - but how many lambs are sharing a teat?  They soon cotton on if there's competition for what's available.
We had 7 lambs sharing 2 teats but put a 3rd teat on the bucket about a week ago. Now I've got the 5 lambs on the 3 teats, all have taken to it first time since I put it in this morning.

SallyintNorth we tried to keep it with milk in 24/7 but it was virtually impossible unless we kept refilling it every 2 hours... they are very gutsy though especially 2 of them... never have I seen a lamb drink as quick and as fast as they do! I was filling it with 6 litres between the 7 of them every evening in an attempt for it to last well into the night, bearing in mind they are in theory meant to be on 1.5 litres a day. They drank about 2/3 of it as soon as it went in but left a good amount in the feeder and lay down... fantastic I thought, they should have enough to see them through the night especially as they've just had a good tummy of milk- 2 hours later they had polished off the other 1/3.  :-\
I just put my head in on the 7 older lambs and through the bleeting when they saw me, they had mouthfulls of creep, something I guess if they were on an ad lib feeder which is always full they would not be doing as they would still be full of milk.

It's a useful thing to have though especially for the really young lambs on 4 or 5 feeds a day, saves a lot of early mornings and late nights, they develop a lot quicker over the first 3 1/2 weeks and are better covered, not pot bellied, and they don't tend to empty it and do drink little and often.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 02:06:09 pm by twizzel »

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: A few musings about the Shepherdess
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2013, 03:01:53 pm »
If they were on bottles then they would be on 1.5 litres a day, but when on ad-lib they would drink 10-30% more than that.

Tilly

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • "Possibilities and miracles mean the same thing"
Re: A few musings about the Shepherdess
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 10:12:50 am »
 
I`ve got several lambs now "on the bottle"......  :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: ,  OH has ordered a 6 teat bucket feeder to arrive next week ,never used one before :thinking: , so we will see how it goes......
 
Tilly :wave:

Re: A few musings about the Shepherdess
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 10:18:36 am »

I`ve got several lambs now "on the bottle"......  :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: ,  OH has ordered a 6 teat bucket feeder to arrive next week ,never used one before :thinking: , so we will see how it goes......
 
Tilly :wave:

If it is the blue, hook over type six teat feeder then you need to ensure that you clean the valve disks in each teat well, as they tend to clog easily and leak.
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