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Author Topic: Help...... Need advice on weaning lambs  (Read 3632 times)

durhamv

  • Joined Apr 2014
Help...... Need advice on weaning lambs
« on: April 13, 2014, 04:00:36 pm »
Hi,

Am really needing some advice as have read so many different things!
We have 3 lambs that are all 3 weeks old, they are still drinking milk we have introduced a hard feed but they are not interested and will not touch it.
When is the best time to wean them?? And how would you go about it??
Some people have said we should do the abrupt weaning although we do not like the sounds of that, we just want to do what's best for our lambs.

Please help all advice welcome. X x

Hellybee

  • Joined Feb 2010
    • www.blaengwawrponies.co.uk
Re: Help...... Need advice on weaning lambs
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2014, 04:10:49 pm »
we have 6 molly lambs, we leave creep down all the time, so that the younger ones mimic the slightly older ones and so forth so its there for them to mouth it etc.   they also have some lovely hay to play with and some of them are eating it well, they also have water by the creep. some again drink it some jsut play with it ha!

we are at the point that they are still on the bottle but pushing them further and further out time wise, and also upping the amount.   have also got them drinking cold milk (i read this can help lessen the likelihood of build up of bacteria and there fore scours)  so this next few days they move to bucket. would never abruptly wean, they dont know theres no more milk and will scream and scream and you will still end up soothing them with a bottle, especially if they dont quite "get" what the creep is yet. 

change everything gradually x

jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Help...... Need advice on weaning lambs
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2014, 06:51:18 pm »
I don't know what goes through the heads of people who recommend abrupt weaning? Like that happens in nature? Abrupt changes of diet of any sort aren't good news.

Basically, what I do is to go from 4 bottles a day, to three, to two, to one. I have creep permanently available, ditto hay and fresh water. They get hungry, they start eating hay and creep.

You have to harden your heart - Tex, my bottle lamb, has been shouting for the past two hours about how he's about to waste away from lack of nourishment - his fat little self and the power of his voice belie that rather  ;)

Don't water down the milk, just reduce the number of bottles, ie open out the time between them, you don't want to fill them up with water so they have no room for hard feed & hay.

All this rubbish about lambs get bloat from eating creep and milk together is just that too, rubbish. You need to make sure that the lamb has to suck (ie the teat doesn't deliver too fast), that the bottle is above their heads so their neck is stretched up, feed no more than 1/2 litre at a time, and all will be well - the oesophageal groove closes to deliver the milk to the abomasum where it belongs, and not the the rumen where the creep and hay are.

trish.farm

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • hampshire
Re: Help...... Need advice on weaning lambs
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2014, 08:24:41 pm »
i feed 4 bottles a day until 4 weeks then decrease slowing down to one bottle a day at 7 weeks then stop.  Creep feed available from 2 weeks old.  Lamby Lamb has just done his first day with no mik and after escaping this morning to find me, has been moved with his dry mum and mates to a field where he cant see or hear me.  Hopefully he wont come looking!!

ScotsGirl

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: Help...... Need advice on weaning lambs
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2014, 08:28:31 pm »
I had one reluctant to leave the bottle. As he wasn't following an adult he didn't copy them feeding but I mixed some country mix with creep and put a cupped handful over his mouth and gradually he took a bit as he butted my hand. Took several days but now completely off milk and guzzling hard feed quite happily.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Help...... Need advice on weaning lambs
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2014, 10:34:17 am »
I don't know what goes through the heads of people who recommend abrupt weaning? Like that happens in nature? Abrupt changes of diet of any sort aren't good news.

Basically, what I do is to go from 4 bottles a day, to three, to two, to one. I have creep permanently available, ditto hay and fresh water. They get hungry, they start eating hay and creep.

You have to harden your heart - Tex, my bottle lamb, has been shouting for the past two hours about how he's about to waste away from lack of nourishment - his fat little self and the power of his voice belie that rather  ;)

Don't water down the milk, just reduce the number of bottles, ie open out the time between them, you don't want to fill them up with water so they have no room for hard feed & hay.

All this rubbish about lambs get bloat from eating creep and milk together is just that too, rubbish. You need to make sure that the lamb has to suck (ie the teat doesn't deliver too fast), that the bottle is above their heads so their neck is stretched up, feed no more than 1/2 litre at a time, and all will be well - the oesophageal groove closes to deliver the milk to the abomasum where it belongs, and not the the rumen where the creep and hay are.

Oh well said  :thumbsup:

I don't wean any lamb that isn't eating at least 1/2lb cake a day.  So their system is already used to cake, and they are used to filling up on cake when they don't get milk.  As others have said, I go from 4 to 3 to 2 to 1 bottle a day.  When they're on 2, it's a full bottle twice, so their full 1L a day.  When I go to 1, which is at about 7 weeks, I just cut one bottle out.  If they weren't eating much cake before, that's when they realise they can fill up on cake.  Occasionally I get one starts to go backwards; I will give that one its second bottle back for another week and it usually is fine when I cut it out again a week later. 

All lambs need to have been eating some sort of forage - hay, grass or straw - from within the first week.  They need it for the rumen to develop properly.

I know a lot of people wean at 5 or 6 weeks but I have found that they do better if I wean a little slower and later.  So once they're doing very well on 2 bottles a day, and are eating cake and are at least 6 weeks old, I cut out one bottle then.  I give them at least a week on one bottle to be sure they are eating cake well enough for final weaning.

Your three week old lambs will start nibbling on at cake soon.  How many bottle feeds are you giving them?  Give them time to get hungry between milk feeds!  Put down a little fresh cake once or twice a day, throw away what they haven't eaten after 8 hours.  By then it's been peed on and no-one would like to eat it!

A lot of people start the lambs on lamb creep but actually I have found mine seem happy to eat regular 16% stock mix, or a grower lamb pellet.  A mix is maybe better than a pellet as there are different shapes and textures to make them interested.  (Yes they often only eat the peas and flakes at first, which is irritating - but at least they are eating 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

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Help...... Need advice on weaning lambs
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2014, 05:39:23 pm »
I wean at 6 weeks latest- normally 5 - 5 1/2weeks. Any later and you're running the risk of bloat as they will start to eat a lot more creep as they get older- I lost one last week at 5 weeks the day before I was going to cut down their milk to 1/2 bottle a day (were on adlib feeder). It was a day too late and within 2 hours she was dead. Bloody frustrating. Mine are all weaned eating good amounts of creep per day and hay and drinking water. I aim to get them out to grass in the garden pretty quick after weaning too. They will keep drinking milk until 6 months old given the chance- I kid you  not, I used to work in a farm park and February born lambs were still on milk in September so the visitors could bottle feed the lambs. Plus the fact milk is expensive, get them off at 6 weeks latest :) Introduce creep ad lib at 2 weeks and they will soon start to nibble and between weeks 4 and 5 they will inhale it, this is when milk needs to be cut down.


 

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