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Author Topic: help with post lambing  (Read 5667 times)

smudger

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • North Devon/ West Exmoor
help with post lambing
« on: February 01, 2012, 02:21:25 pm »
Hi

Our two greyface Dartmoors lambed this week. Birthing was easy, no intervention but having a lot of difficulties with feeding and mismothering. Ewe lamb was born Monday 10am and ram lamb last night at midnight. First mother very poor and now in a restrainer/adopter to allow the ewe lamb to suckle. We are supplementary feeding her and she is up and down, incl waterymouth yesterday afternoon.  Always a bit week, compared to the ram lamb but even he has had tubing of coloustrum as he was unable to attach last night, although this mother is looking after him at least even if she isn't feeding him.

I really want the lambs to be raised by their mothers, so what is best approach viz feeding, how much, how often and when/if we can stop supplementary feeding. I wanted to turn them out next week when it gets milder in a small paddock with a shelter we could lock them up in at night if weather bad again. Once out we won't get near them except at feeding time.

So questions:

1. How long in restrainer?
2. Feeding as above?
3. Anything else we can do/supplement with?

Both lambs have been seen attached this morning, but of course don't know how much truly getting.

thanks
Traditional and Rare breed livestock -  Golden Guernsey Goats, Blackmoor Flock Shetland and Lleyn Sheep, Pilgrim Geese and Norfolk Black Turkeys. Capallisky Irish Sport Horse Stud.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: help with post lambing
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 03:14:11 pm »
Hi smudger.  You are having a rough time of it.

There are some good ways of picking up a lamb that is just not bouncing as it should.  The first is of course colostrum but for the ewe lamb born Monday morning it's a little late to give her colostrum now (not that it would do any harm.)

Vitamins can be given by injection or in the form of a drench ("Lamb Boost" is one such) that you squirt down the back of its throat or by something you feed in a bottle, either with or without milk.  You can use PSF (Pfizer Scour Formula) which is actually for calves with scour but contains all the vits and trace elements needed so can give a boost to a lamb.  Or, my favourite is Rehydion, which is again meant for calves but can be used for lambs.  It contains all the vits, trace elements and electrolytes needed, so if it's a bit short of fluids it will help on that front too.  You can feed it in water or in milk, so if the lamb is taking milk you can give it in its normal bottle.

The lamb with watery mouth, if it is genuinely watery mouth and not just salivating a bit, will probably be off its food.  I would give it a jab of Pen & Strep and try to get it to take either PSF or Rehydion in water until it bucks up.  Mostly they do, I find. 

I don't have an adopter so my scheme is to get in with the ewe and lamb every four hours for the first 24 hours, then every 6 hours for a few days - by which time all should be well.  Hold the ewe still and help the lamb attach - be firm with the ewe if she is fractious; she will soon learn that she has to behave and pretty soon you will find a lovely full lamb when you go in to see them.

As you say, if you leave them in an adopter, you don't really know what the lamb is getting - so I wouldn't leave the ewe in there, I'd put her in 6 times a day for a day or two, then 4 times a day until she behaves.  If you can get the lamb full that many times a day, it'll be fine.

If the lamb has had sufficient it will have a lovely round belly - hold it up by its front legs and look at its tum; it should swell out to the front and sides, not be concave - and will curl up happily to sleep afterwards.  If you wake it, it should stand and stretch.  Its ears and the inside of its mouth should be warm. 

If you think the lamb wants or needs more, first of all see if mum has it.  If so, help the lamb drink if you can, or if you can't get the lamb latched on, milk the ewe and bottle feed the milk to the lamb.  (Some on here prefer tubing but I prefer the bottle if it will take it.)  If mum doesn't have it, make up a lamb milk replacement formula.

In total, lambs need 0.5 to 1L milk a day, depending on the breed and the lamb.  But the best guide is its behaviour.

Regarding whether to turn them out or not - once the lamb knows that you bring a bottle of milk, it will run to you whenever it sees you, so you should be able to keep them topped up outside until they no longer need you.

Hope that helps, ask more questions if anything isn't clear.

Good luck

Sally
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

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: help with post lambing
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 03:19:55 pm »
Just to say that is a brilliant post Sally  :thumbsup: :trophy:

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: help with post lambing
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2012, 03:25:09 pm »
Just to say that is a brilliant post Sally  :thumbsup: :trophy:
Well, thank you very much  :)  One simply likes to help, but I must say it is very nice to get a compliment too!  Thanks again llm  :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

Hazelwood Flock

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Dorset.
Re: help with post lambing
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 05:51:18 pm »
Hi Smudger,
I too have Greyface Dartmoors, and only once had a ewe reject a lamb. Did you trim out the udder? The lambs can be a bit dim and prefer to suck wool rather than teats! they also tend to seek too high.
With the obstinate ewe, try taking a dog in if you have one and see how she reacts. Hopefully she will become protective. Apart from that, Sally has given brilliant descriptions above of what to do....good luck  :hshoe:
Not every day is baaaaaad!
Pedigree Greyface Dartmoor sheep.

Remy

  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: help with post lambing
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2012, 06:04:40 pm »
Sorry to hear your ewes aren't making the best mums  :-\.  I've never tried using an adopter but had a first-time Charollais last year give birth to a single lamb and she wasn't interested in it, she wasn't maternal at all, but perseverance meant she did eventually let it suckle.  She was never a very good mum though and also very flighty, so at any sign of stress she was quite happy to leave her lamb and go off without it!  Despite all that the lamb did grow nicely.

I've only ever had one case where the mother just didn't want to know the lamb and I couldn't get her to take to it.  It was one of my experienced ewes who had twins.  She had one enormous ram lamb and the ewe twin was born about two hours after, by that time the ewe had bonded with the ram lamb and just didn't want to know the ewe lamb.  I tried everything, rubbing the afterbirth of the ram lamb over it but it didn't work.  We had to restrain her and hold her head away from the lamb so it could get the colostrum in the first couple of days.  The ewe was in a stable in a smallish area behind hurdles, but every time I left the lamb with her (under observation) she butted seven bells out of it and I had to remove it for it's safety.  I had to milk her to get some into the lamb and kept putting the lamb to her every few hours; but she wasn't having it and I'd find the lamb on the other side of the hurdles.  I feared for the safety and health of the lamb so started giving it powdered lamb milk, that was it from then on I was it's mummy  ::) :D

It grew up happy and healthy and never had problems (it was just that whenever it saw me it wanted feeding, was a bit tricky after weaning lol!).  She was also very lucky in that she didn't go to market (well once I name something it is here for keeps  ::)) and is now a gorgeous friendly little lamb who still wants feeding but this time coarse mix  ::) :)

Also another thanks to Sally for a very informative post  :thumbsup:
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep

smudger

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • North Devon/ West Exmoor
Re: help with post lambing
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2012, 06:53:55 pm »
Hazelwood - you hit the nail on the head. As birthing was good and lives lively initially, I stayed away to allow bonding. In the meantime the lambs knocked themselves silly and exhausted themselves either in right place but too high, or the completely wrong place eg head, belly. Both ewes are a bit flightly and even the good mother thinks nothing of trampling over her lamb, so intervention is delicate.  I did try the dog thing and good ewe did get aggressive, but the problem is the lamb latching on quick enough before she moves off.  even when holding ewes in place and putting lambs mouth at the nipple, they don't latch on, but stick my finger in and they suck away.  I only dagged after birth, when I had assistance, so yes that was a contributing factor but both ewes teats are visible.  One chap said as a hill breed maybe there is too much going around them?

Sally. many thx for advice.

The ewe lamb has been given pep n strep - what amount do you give a lamb? Day 1 did 0.5ml, then gave her 1ml yesterday as everyone kept saying cant overdose on it.

I have life-aid by Norbrook electrolytes - can this be added to milk as well and how much?

I also got some Spectam yesterday from the Vet for Watery mouth - can this be given repeatedly?  I also used Collate lamb quick start. Then today got Thermovite plus which Tim Tyne recommends but didn't see any improvement - in fact after a quite good morning, both looked quite sorry for themselves and i switched heat lamp back on for lamb with mother in restrainer (on basis the younger lamb actual has a mother to snuggle up to).  (and I also supplemented artiicial collostrum for lamb 1). Struggling to justify spending more money on supplements - is there anything I already have that can be used repeatedly till they are over the worst of it?

Interesting the tube v bottle. Problem is when both are weak they don't suck but I have been given strong advice to use bottle and it takes ages and they get distressed "forcing" milk even though bellies aren't full. Instinct is to tube first 60ml then bottle feed second to top up.



Traditional and Rare breed livestock -  Golden Guernsey Goats, Blackmoor Flock Shetland and Lleyn Sheep, Pilgrim Geese and Norfolk Black Turkeys. Capallisky Irish Sport Horse Stud.

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: help with post lambing
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2012, 08:08:23 pm »
Im not sure who told you to bottle feed. I always tube if I want a lamb to remain with its dam. There shouldnt be any "forcing" involved with tube feeding.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: help with post lambing
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2012, 12:15:25 am »
It's really hard when you are just starting out to decide which advice suits your situation, and it's equally hard for us, who are not with you and your ewes and lambs, to give exactly the right advice for the situation you are in based on your description of what has and is happening. 

It sounds to me as though the lambs have probably had enough 'squirty' vitamin supplements now.  I wouldn't be using the 'boost' type products as a routine, just one shot if the lamb is fading.  If you are wanting to give a routine vits + electrolytes because it's scouring and/or has watery mouth so it's not taking (or shouldn't have) milk, then I'd use PSF or Rehydion.

Reading the datasheet, Spectam is one shot per lamb only.  It sounds as though it's used only as a preventative not as a treatment.  We have Oraject on hand which is one shot at birth as a preventative but which can then also be used as a treatment if the lambs develop scouring and/or watery mouth.  It's easily justifiable with a commercial flock of 200+ ewes, but harder when you just have the two!  Maybe next year you can get your local friendly farmer to give you the remains in his/her last bottle... ;)

For watery mouth I would give Pen & Strep 1ml per day for up to 3 days, maybe up to a week.  If it has really got watery mouth I would not be trying to get milk into it once it's had colostrum a couple of times, I would be using Rehydion in water or very weak milk until it starts to get its appetite back, then continue the Rehydion in increasingly milky water until it's recovered and on full milk.

Reading Norbrook's website about Life-Aid, I cannot see that it can be added to milk, no.  But as you say, you don't want to buy more products if you already have something you can use, so for a lamb with watery mouth then use the Life-Aid you have, in water, until it gets its appetite for milk back.

Im not sure who told you to bottle feed. I always tube if I want a lamb to remain with its dam. There shouldnt be any "forcing" involved with tube feeding.
Well I prefer the bottle but not to the extent that you're forcing the lamb to drink.  If it won't take the bottle, I would, as you suggest, smudger, tube 60ml in and then see if it wants some bottle as well.

Sometimes if the lamb is not keen on the teat it can help to tip the ewe up and get the lamb latched on that way - so long as mum doesn't kick her in the face.  Once lambie has the idea it will usually find and use the teat wherever it is but some of them really are dumb about getting the hang of it at first.

The other thing that can be worth trying with the bottle is different teats.  The thick hard plastic teats are not, in my experience, very palatable to newborn lambs.  I usually start with the standard 'non vac' bottle with the very soft translucent yellow teat, with quite a small hole.  Some lambs just don't like it, it's too squidgy I think, so then I try the soft red teats that screw on to fizzy drinks bottles - some lambs take to that straight away then you can switch them onto the other teats in a day or two if they are still needing bottle. 


And a small cautionary note on the tactic of using a dog to stimulate the maternal instinct - with some hill sheep especially, the combined stress of birth, suckling (or not) a lamb they aren't liking, being penned up and lots of human intervention, coupled with a dog in close proximity can just make them flip.  I have had Swaledale ewes, cross with the dog that is outside their pen, beat up (with their horns) the lamb that is in the pen with them.  So it can be worth a try - but be ready to rescue the lamb and get the dog out of there, pronto.

Hang in there smudger - quite often they do quite suddenly rally.  I have my fingers crossed for you. :bouquet:
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

feldar

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • lymington hampshire
Re: help with post lambing
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2012, 07:00:53 pm »
Hi just a quick add to Sally's post, we always Spectam any lambs we supplement with powdered milk. Have been caught out in the past, apparently the change in milk from mothers to powdered can cause a massive reaction in the gut flora and Spectam will prevent this too. only give one shot down the mouth per lamb and preferably before you supplement with powdered milk.
I've never lost a lamb this way so good luck

smudger

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • North Devon/ West Exmoor
Re: help with post lambing
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2012, 11:20:22 am »
Many thx for advice and support. Just a quick update that both lambs are jumping around, so take it as a good sign!

Not supplementing the ram lamb at all (won't have it and you can feel his strength), giving a little by bottle to the ewe lamb. I didn't tube as I lost confidence doing it to a wriggling lamb. I did give Thermovite every 12 hrs as an energy boost (seller said I could do this, as it was primarily energy with just a bit of Vits), but stopped this now and a single dose of electrolytes which seemed to kick start the ewe lamb.

And the really good news if when I released the ewe from the restrainer she allowed the lamb to suckle and after a while she did show some mothering instincts.

Thanks to Sally I know what  to have in the store cupboard for next year.

And I'm feeling much better for some sleep!

Traditional and Rare breed livestock -  Golden Guernsey Goats, Blackmoor Flock Shetland and Lleyn Sheep, Pilgrim Geese and Norfolk Black Turkeys. Capallisky Irish Sport Horse Stud.

mmu

  • Joined Aug 2011
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: help with post lambing
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2012, 05:09:58 pm »
sleep's an amazing thing, helps you to think clearly.  brilliant help and advice, worth printing off and keeping if that's poss.
We keep Ryelands, Southdowns, Oxford Downs, Herdwicks, Soay, Lleyn, an Exmoor pony and Shetland geese.  Find us on Twitter as @RareBreedsScot

 

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