Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?  (Read 15803 times)

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« on: January 31, 2013, 07:57:06 am »
I picked up an orphaned ewe lamb 3 days ago along with 3 others. She's a good size lamb Texel x mule I think and I would guess about 5 or 6 days old. The farmer said she had already been on 2 ewes (I think I heard that correctly) and now they were trying her on a bottle hence me bringing her home!


She just won't drink, there doesn't seem to be any sucking reflex at all. Once the teat is in her mouth she will just mouth it, her tongue moves here there and everywhere. She can swallow. We've tried her on a bottle and last night tried her on the shepherdess in the other pen but she won't take either even when she's not fed for over 12 hours (so has got to be hungry!).


We tube fed her twice yesterday, once with milk in the morning and once in the evening with colostrum. She is scouring slightly but seems to have got better over the last day or so, and we gave her 1ml of pen and strep last night. The strange thing is she's really quite alert and flighty, considering the fact she won't drink you'd think she would be lethargic but she's not, even more so after the colostrum and jab last night, that's perked her up even more.


Has anyone got any ideas? I don't want to keep tubing her but she just will not accept a bottle and I don't want to give up on her as she's a nice big lamb...

ZaktheLad

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Thornbury, Nr Bristol
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 08:25:57 am »
Perhaps try a smaller teat size - are you using the bottles/teat by NetTex, as sometimes lambs seem to find these too large for their mouths.   If you can find an empty bottle and use one of the small push in teats (usually black stopper with a red teat) you might find she accepts this better.  Also, ensure the hole in the teat is large enough so that she doesn't have to suck too hard to draw milk, as this can also but a lamb off bothering to suck.  You do not want hole so large though that she chokes.   I have also sometimes found that placing teat in mouth and then very gently holding hand over top of nose and squeezing to mimic the sucking action sometimes gets them going.   You will probably find that all of a sudden she will get the idea and be well away with her tail waggling 9 to the dozen.   I have had lambs like this before and it is infuriating that they act in this way.  It takes so much time and patience.   Also, make sure milk is nice and warm!   Good luck!

ScotsGirl

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 08:32:16 am »
Don't give up. Try smaller teat as suggested and if she swallows just feed little and often. I had a poorly lamb last year and it took days if no weeks to get him feeding properly and i almost force fed him by squeezing teat and bottle to get milk in his mouth.


Does the lamb suck on your finger? If she does then she should eventually feed but sometimes if they have had real thing they don't like the artificial teat.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 08:36:57 am »
Ok thanks I'll try another teat later. Yes it's one of the NetTex bottles so maybe a smaller teat might help. Yes she seems ok sucking on finger, but she doesn't latch on properly like a normal lamb would. I had one like this last year but not as bad...

Remy

  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 09:40:07 am »
Keep persevering, I'm sure she will eventually.  I've had a few like this and you start to despair but mine have always come round once they catch on to the idea!  :thumbsup:
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep

jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 12:32:57 pm »
A smaller teat, and sometimes pulling the teat in and out of the mouth slightly seems to get them to 'latch on and suck'.

feldar

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • lymington hampshire
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 01:17:15 pm »
Ditto all the above, sometimes they don't like the feel of the rubber teat in their mouths, they do usually catch on in the end but in can take a while. These types are worst they are a lot of work.
Keep going and good luck

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 01:28:03 pm »
They can be so infuriating, can't they!?

As everyone has said, try different teats, different size hole, pulling the teat in and out of the mouth, make sure it's the right temperature (squirt it on the back of your hand - you should feel it as slightly to pleasantly warm, but not hot and definitely not cold.  If you can't feel it, it's on the cool end of acceptable.)

If I have a one like this and it's ill, I'll tube, but as you say you can't go on tubing a healthy lamb.  Like you I would make sure it's had another dollop of colostrum and a good feed of normal milk, after that, if it's clearly not weak then it needs to get on and suck for itself.

Other tactics I use are
  • don't offer milk for 12 hours, so it's good and hungry.  Then make sure it gets a really good feed and another in around 6 hours, then repeat the 12-hour fast
  • give it a good talking to and tell it you're going to give it one more feed only, and after that you won't mess on with it, it'll only get what it takes voluntarily, and if it dies then so be it.  Then do it.  This often works - I suspect because the pep talk makes you follow through, and in the end the lamb just gets hungry enough to stop being so stupid  ;)
.

Good luck! 
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

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2013, 02:35:52 pm »
We get calves like this, I find sometimes if they are mouthing the teat if you put the teat in its mouth and put a finger under the teat (teat,finger then tongue) and use your finger to push up on the teat so it squirts the milk in the right dirrection. The calves then normally get the idea that this thing in their mouth is just like mums teats and works the same!

I know this is calves but it must be pretty much the same in theory :)

Marlboro

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • West Wales
  • 42 sheep, 5 ducks 10 chickens and Meg
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2013, 04:31:13 pm »
Ok I'm probably very old and soft school, we have had 20 bucket lambs the last two years and at least 4 each year which have been difficult ::). Agree with the above, hold hand round nose and milk the teat by pressure pulling in and out. I tend to feed every two hours in the daytime :-[ if they are like this untill they get the idea! With some of them this has been four or five days. It's often ones that have had a bit of scour or have been tried on ewes and rejected. If left in the pen with the bucket they often just copy the others after a while and you get the pleasure of picking them up and finding a nice round tummy.
Good luck.

moony

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Dent
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2013, 05:03:56 pm »
Agree with others. Different teats and different holes. One which lets a bit of milk out if you jiggle the bottle. We had one that wouldnt use a big teat and one that wouldnt use a smaller teat last year. Failing that rub the base of its tail while trying to feed it. That can encourage the suck reflex.

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2013, 05:12:05 pm »
I had one which wouldn't suck properly from a set of triplets which all had to be bottle fed - the other two were fine. 
 
I would hold it in my lap so it couldnt back away from the bottle, put one hand round its mouth, and with the other hand more or less squirt the milk in.  But you must be careful not to do it too quickly so as to make it choke. 
 
It never really fed properly but I reared it ok till it could have grass and creep.
To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2013, 05:56:32 pm »
Great thanks very much everyone. I bought a smaller, narrower teat with a smaller hole, it fits in her mouth better but she still didn't latch onto it. I've tried putting finger in her mouth with teat, pulling teat in and out of her mouth, holding her mouth shut, you name it we've tried it. Missed a feed so she hasn't had anything for 6 hours or so now, so will pop down in a bit and see how we get on again... if she still doesn't take it we will have to tube her again as I just don't like leaving them overnight without any milk in their tummies.
Will let you know how we get on! Thanks very much

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2013, 11:00:39 pm »
Success, she just drank a full 200ml with the new teat  :thumbsup:  not counting my chickens yet but it seems that everything has just clicked! If she carries on drinking properly over the weekend she and her friend who is keeping her company can go in the big pen with the other 5 and the shepherdess  :relief:

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: At wits end with orphan lamb, any ideas?
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2013, 05:44:23 am »
Great news  :relief:

 :fc: she keeps on with it now.

Well done  :thumbsup:
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

 

Lamb won't suckle, I'm at my wits end

Started by Remi Dixon (12.62)

Replies: 14
Views: 577
Last post August 07, 2022, 09:43:13 am
by waterbuffalofarmer
Button tags ripped out of lamb ears - at wits end

Started by plt102 (12.21)

Replies: 8
Views: 6031
Last post April 27, 2015, 12:55:55 pm
by steve_pr
Orphan lamb

Started by caroline griesel (10.27)

Replies: 19
Views: 8310
Last post May 11, 2012, 01:32:04 pm
by Brucklay
Orphan Lamb - what to do?

Started by LabSheep (10.27)

Replies: 3
Views: 1201
Last post April 23, 2020, 12:44:38 pm
by SallyintNorth
Another orphan lamb problem

Started by SueAllen (10.16)

Replies: 4
Views: 4288
Last post April 30, 2009, 07:01:22 pm
by SueAllen

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