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Author Topic: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks  (Read 4874 times)

17AndCounting

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Kent
Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« on: May 10, 2013, 12:48:07 am »

We have a Hebridean ewe with a ram lamb who is 4 weeks old. She has seemed to be fine with him, has fed him, kept him close, calls him when we enter the field, escaped and took him on a little adventure etc.  ;)

However I noticed today she won't let him feed any more. Everytime he tries she walks off. She doesn't butt him, but she does very deliberately walk away.

Is it most likely because of his horns (which seem quite impressive for his age) or something else? She doesn't like being handled so it's hard to get a good idea of her condition under all that fleece but she looks fine.

Do we need to do anything for the lamb? Do we need to supplement it with bottle milk? It is out on grass with her and eats her ewe nuts. At the moment it's a very healthy looking little thing.


Azzdodd

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 06:49:16 am »
I got all worried about this last year but lambs are greedy she is prob feeding him still your just missing it :)

Brucklay

  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Perthshire
    • Brucklay Pygmy Goats
    • Facebook
Re: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 07:11:53 am »
I would agree with Azdodd - a few of my bigger Shetland lambs are like this - always wanting more but they look in good condition and have creep available so I think they are just greedy
Pygmy Goats, Shetland Sheep, Zip & Indie the Border Collies, BeeBee the cat and a wreak of a building to renovate!!

ZaktheLad

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Thornbury, Nr Bristol
Re: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 07:34:05 am »
Don't worry - this is normal!  At 4 weeks of age the lambs are becoming far more independent, eating grass etc and will not be so reliant on Mum for milk.  She knows this and will not be so keen to stand there for ages whilst her youngster has a good long drink as she did when he was a tiny little thing.  He will be getting enough to keep him going and she is just letting him know that it is time he began to stand on his own four feet  ;)

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 08:10:52 am »
if you get the chance, check her for mastitis but other than that I reckon that it is what the others have said.

bizzielizzie66

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Kent
Re: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 08:14:46 am »
My ewes with 4 week old lambs are doing this too - my ewe with a 3 week old lamb isn't. They know a thing or two these mums  :)
Keeper of Ryelands (learner) , Geese, Bantams, Chickens, Ducks , Horses & Cattle.  Animal Feed Merchant by day & BSc Agriculture graduate of yore :)

Pedwardine

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2013, 09:01:03 pm »
Only one concern which is him eating ewe nuts. Not good if he's a ram lamb.

17AndCounting

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Kent
Re: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 09:39:10 pm »

Thanks all.

Pedwardine - he won't go into the creep feeder with the cade lambs, he sticks his head in his Mum's bucket. My other non-cade lamb is the same.

bizzielizzie66

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Kent
Re: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2013, 10:08:04 pm »
Mum's food always seems more interesting!   :) Try and swap the ewes slowly onto a ewe AND lamb nut or ewe AND lamb mix - or an all-round ruminant mix. They do exist and you won't have to worry about your ram lambs eating it too. Ask your local feed merchant - they should know which are suitable if they know their stuff. I won't list manufacturers because they are often very regional and I'm a feed merchant in the sunny soft South! Try to mix your existing ewe nuts with a bit of the new nut/mix and substitute gradually - if you do it over 3-5 days there shouldn't be any problem with the change of diet.  At 4 weeks old there isn't any real problem with the slightly lower protein value of the ewe & lamb nut/mix over the Lamb Creep Pellets. Some lambs are also much keener to try a mix too - but I admit mixes can be a bit more expensive.  :wave:
Keeper of Ryelands (learner) , Geese, Bantams, Chickens, Ducks , Horses & Cattle.  Animal Feed Merchant by day & BSc Agriculture graduate of yore :)

17AndCounting

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Kent
Re: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2013, 10:27:44 am »

Thanks bizzielizzie66.

My husband bought generic livestock feed yesterday - we also have alpacas and it appears the ewes and ram prefer to eat their normal food than the sheep food, the alpacas are rather taken with ewe creep and the ram lambs eat the ewe creep too, only the cade lambs eat what they're supposed to! Feeding time was becoming rather a hilarious affair trying to keep everyone eating the correct food, I never realised sheep could move so fast! The cade lambs will stay on lamb creep for the time being (and yesterday we took them down to just 1 bottle feed a day) and then eventually we'll switch them over too.


bizzielizzie66

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Kent
Re: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2013, 11:44:14 am »
That's good. Glad to help. The only problem with giving a ruminant mix to ewes in gestation and early lactation is the lack of supplementary magnesium - which can lead to staggers in the ewe (it's the magnesium that causes urinary calculi in the ram lambs)  and the lower Vitamin E content (helps lambs develop during gestation). Later lactation should be fine (unless your pastures are known to be magnesium deficient)  I always try to swap slowly as soon as I see the lambs tucking into mum's grub.  :wave:
Keeper of Ryelands (learner) , Geese, Bantams, Chickens, Ducks , Horses & Cattle.  Animal Feed Merchant by day & BSc Agriculture graduate of yore :)

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Mother rejecting lamb at 4 weeks
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2013, 01:21:04 pm »
I feed the ewes a declining amount of cake for the first three weeks of lactation then tail them off so everything's on grass only.  If the ewes are in good condition and the grass is in good condition then everything should grow away very nicely.  I ease off faster if the grass and condition are very good and slower if the opposite.  I like to support the ewe and let the ewe support the lamb.

 

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