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Author Topic: How long to tube feed?  (Read 2939 times)


  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
How long to tube feed?
« on: March 03, 2012, 12:20:58 pm »
We have got a premature lamb here that was born 5 days ago.  The first day he drank the colostrum on his own and milk through the day, 2nd day he started going down hill and noticed by the third day that he wasnt poo-ing.  Gave him an enema and out came the initial moc.

He then stopped drinking from a bottle and I had to move the teet through his mouth as he was still sucking down but not suckling - this took about an hour of feeding.  Overnight I would stomach tube him as I cant afford an hour every few hours and it was quicker.

Now I cant get him to drink at all and have been tubing him every meal for 2 days.

He is listless still isnt pooing a great deal - he is weeing though.  He shakes alot and makes for dark corners often propping himself against walls and his pen -  He doesnt look good but can walk around and holds his head up ok.

My question is - should I continue to stomach feed him until he is well? Has anyone else had a similar experience?  Is it time to take him to the vets for sleepytime?



  • Joined Jun 2011
Re: How long to tube feed?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2012, 12:25:35 pm »
hi :wave:
i had a similsr thing with a goat kid once,tube fed him for about 5 days,just could'nt get him to suck.
did have him put to sleep though. :(
but i'm guessing there could be something wrong with him.
perhaps a trip to the vet.


  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: How long to tube feed?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2012, 01:09:29 pm »
Hes at peace now :(


  • Joined Jan 2008
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border
    • Glyn Elwyn - Faithmead Herd
    • Facebook
Re: How long to tube feed?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2012, 02:08:31 pm »
Awww, that's so sad but nature has a way of knowing who should survive and who maybe shouldn't  :'(    One of my girls kidded mid morning this morning and has had two cracking kids plus the tiddliest little female I've ever seen.  Very very weak and has a rib cage about the size of 2 fingers!!!  She's currently under a lamp and has had a belly full via a tube.   Waiting game now.   3 hours ago I would have said 50/50, now she looks possibly a 60/40 for the good......fingers crossed  :-\
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again !!


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: How long to tube feed?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2012, 03:42:07 pm »
Well done for trying, baz  :bouquet:

It's such a hard call, when they sometimes seem to be rallying a bit, and then fade again... In this case, his system was perhaps too premature to digest the milk. 

The only thing you could try differently another time would be to switch to PSF or Rehydion when the lamb starts to go backwards - it keeps them hydrated and gives them energy and vitamins but doesn't put the load on their system that milk will.  There will always be those that just can't quite make it, though, and all we can do is to give them every chance until it is clear they are suffering and/or fading - and then help them to peace, if we can.

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


  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: How long to tube feed?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2012, 11:38:35 am »
Thanks all.

I will buy some Rehydion for next time (fingers crossed not a next time, but be prepared)

I was kind of thankful in a way, the poor blighter would have been toast if he was left in the fields, natural selection, but we had to try.  It gets quite upsetting for us both here when you have something so frail your looking after.  Just leaves you tired and hard pressed to look after everything else thats healthy and needs attention.

Its a rolacoaster lambing time isnt it - you have to try to leave the aftermath of your caring instinct behind and just press on with those little ones that are left and to come. There is only so much time and attention you can give when i comes down to it.

At least he passed on with a full belly, tidy bed and in the arms of the other half.



  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: How long to tube feed?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2012, 02:30:02 pm »
I'm glad you tried, and he had the nicest short little life you could manage for him. But as you say, sometimes it's kindest that they go, both on them and in you  :-*


  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: How long to tube feed?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2012, 10:39:12 am »
Thanks guys n gals.  Really really sad time, rip little one  :'( x


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