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Author Topic: Emergency weaning- lambs 6 weeks old  (Read 4231 times)

wonderwooly

  • Joined May 2013
Emergency weaning- lambs 6 weeks old
« on: March 15, 2015, 09:13:02 pm »
Hello all, a sad day for us as I found one of my oldest feistiest ewes dead after
she got out last night. looked for her as long as was sensible in the dark and
decided to start again this morning only to find her in a bog dead. really gutting.

so my attention turns to the lambs now motherless, 45 days old.
they seem to be taking dry feed although I have not seen them drink water, they
are both eating grass and look to be hungry, though not feeble.
I could get some dry powder milk and see if they will take a bottle but it is
expensive as you can only find it in large amount around here!
one is a wether the other a ewe lamb.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, as I've not lost a ewe mid nursing before.
Normally we would leave lambs with their mothers until they wean naturally.

I would also like to ask if anyone who lives in France (Brittany) if they know of any suppliers of good creep feed (hard to find non gm sheep feeds in the local agricultural shops). The fields are still quite bare, we're probably a fortnight off spring grass.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Emergency weaning- lambs 6 weeks old
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2015, 09:36:27 pm »
Sorry to hear about your ewe  :bouquet:

When rearing lambs on replacement milk they can be weaned from 5 or 6 weeks, although I prefer to give them a couple extra - but they do need to be eating cake.  So if yours are eating cake you can probably wean them.

I have put older lambs - 3, 4 or even 5 weeks old - onto the bottle before, and mostly they do take to it, even if it takes a few days. 

If you can't get powdered milk you might find that cow's milk will do, and goat's milk certainly would, if you can find unpasteurised unhomogenised real milk locally.  I've successfully reared lambs on Jersey milk, but they need more of it than they do of ewe's milk. 

If putting them onto anything other than ewe's milk I'd introduce it slowly - small feeds at first - while their system get used to it.

Best of 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

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Emergency weaning- lambs 6 weeks old
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2015, 10:32:16 pm »
If hey have been fed exclusively by their dam until now I think you would be struggling to put them onto a bottle teat (with milk that tastes different to what they are used to). Maybe best to try and see if they take good amount of lamb/creep feed - even if it is GM, if you cannot get anything else locally. Do they eat hay? You may be could try something like readigrass (dried grass usually fed to horses) - my goats really love it during the winter.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Emergency weaning- lambs 6 weeks old
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2015, 10:49:55 pm »
Being in France you might be able to buy ewes milk from a cheese farm.  Do you have other lactating ewes you could milk a little from just to tide the lambs over for a couple of weeks?  To hand milk a ewe who doesn't want you to, sit her on her bum and lean over as if you were about to trim her feet. In both cases they would need to drink from the bottle though, but if it's sheep milk they might take to it ok.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Emergency weaning- lambs 6 weeks old
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2015, 09:46:37 am »
If you're trying to get a naturally suckled older lamb to take a bottle I recommend wearing full waterproofs - you'll probably get a milk shower.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Emergency weaning- lambs 6 weeks old
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2015, 01:27:57 pm »
 :roflanim:  MF

But honestly, I've put quite a few older, naturally fed lambs onto the bottle over the years, and they mostly do get it after a few days.  Because they will be eating cake and hay, I don't get stressed about it - just catch them, try them with a bottle, if they don't want it, leave them till next feed time.  I back them into a corner, hold them steady between my calves, hold their chin in one hand, place the teat in the mouth and hold the mouth closed over it (gently!) with the other.

The odd one never gives in but by far the majority do.  One last year took a week, but its penmate got it on the second day, so I was going in to feed that one anyway, so just kept on trying with the awkward one, then giving the bottle to the other.

I suspect that the not getting stressed and not coercing the lamb may be part of the recipe for success.  ;)
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

Hellybee

  • Joined Feb 2010
    • www.blaengwawrponies.co.uk
Re: Emergency weaning- lambs 6 weeks old
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2015, 01:37:08 pm »
they can take a little time to get the jist of it but lambie will come.  All I can add is that i ration everything except for water supply and hay. Take time to adjust they're diet.  Have rehydion at the ready too. Good luck

 

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