Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Mis-mothering?  (Read 3173 times)


  • Joined Apr 2012
« on: May 01, 2012, 09:47:27 pm »
We have a Shetland ewe with a single lamb, its her first time and she herself is just a year old (I know thats not ideal)

The lamb is about a week old now, mum has milk and lamb is suckling

However unlike the other two lambs we have (also singles, also with Shetland ewes but older) this mum doesnt seem to be caring for her lamb too brilliantly, its nearly always soaking wet, muddy and looks a lot more skinny compared to the others whose mums shelter in the rain (we have plenty of dry places for them to go)

The lamb has a warm mouth and stretches when it stands up which I understand are both good signs, its lively sometimes but listless in the mornings particularly

Last year we made a mistake of worrying too quickly and bottle fed a lamb a small amount each day just to put our minds at rest which unfortunately led to its mum drying up completely although she didnt reject him it wasnt the best situation I know

Should we step in at any point this time?


  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Pilton
  • Caution! May spontaneously talk rabbits!
Re: Mis-mothering?
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 09:52:57 pm »
I'm a bit harsh with some things and far to soft with others so check with someone else before trying this but.......
If the only worry is the ewe not taking her lamb to shelter, shear her. If she feels a bit chilly she will head for cover taking her lamby with her ;)
We'll turn the dust to soil,
Turn the rust of hate back into passion.
It's not water into wine
But it's here, and it's happening.
but passive.

Bring the peace back


  • Joined May 2009
  • Gwynedd
Re: Mis-mothering?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2012, 10:01:17 pm »
I'm no expert by any means, but I'd be tempted to make up a pen (ideally in an open, airy barn) & move the 2 of them in for a couple of days until the worst of this weather passes. I wouldn't bottle feed unless things got worse.

I have a first timer this year who sometimes forgets her lamb (ewe was rejected by her mum & was bottle reared). Luckily they are all in a smallish flat field & it's easy for me to bring them back together. She's doing a great job of feeding & looking after her lamb, other than the occasional forgetful moment! Her lamb quickly learnt to stick to her mum like glue!


  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: Mis-mothering?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 10:11:41 pm »
Hi, One of my Shetlands was like this in her first year.  I penned her in a double hurdle pen in the barn overnight  then increased it to a 2 x2 hurdle pen for 3 more days.  She was fine after that and has gone on to be a great mum in subsequent years.  :thumbsup:


  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Mis-mothering?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2012, 12:05:48 am »
Pen her up in a sheltered spot outdoors if you are worried. I, personally would leave it alone if the lamb is being fed and see how it develops. Warm and wet, plus bringing sheep in sounds like a recipe for a disease-fest all round to me.


  • Joined May 2011
Re: Mis-mothering?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2012, 06:39:28 am »
I had one last year like this , I used to call her "mrs I've forgotten my handbag on the bus !" she would potter along and then suddenly you could see her wee mind go .......OH no my lamb and take off looking for him  ;D
He was never muddy etc like u say but she would just sometimes forget he was there.
Think I'd be tempted just to keep checking just now  :thumbsup:


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Mis-mothering?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2012, 10:31:34 pm »
Thank you all for your advice.

I ended up confining the ewe to a 40 x 20 fenced area bordered by the stables which have a concrete standing and roof overhang and that seems to have made things better, lamb is still grubby and skinny but she is now sticking with it and its not far from shelter

Thanks again


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Mis-mothering?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2012, 09:42:00 am »
The other thing to use in a situation like this is those little plastic rain macs.  Put it on when the lamb is dry and warm and it'll stop the rain getting him soaked through. 

Use the clear plastic ones, some ewes can't bear the coloured ones and will beat up any lamb wearing one - even someone else's lamb wearing one.

When you put it on the lamb, make sure its bum is accessible (she recognises it by the smell of its bottom) and when you give it back to mum, monitor for a few moments to make sure mum has realised it's still her lamb and doesn't take exception to 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



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