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Author Topic: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?  (Read 13426 times)

LadyFarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« on: April 29, 2014, 09:34:27 pm »
Hi, we adopted our first four orphan lambs at the weekend. The lambs are aged between 2.5 and 3.5 weeks old and had been in the field with their mothers who died suddenly.
Obviously we are now bottle feeding, and have now got that going well with all four. My question is, should we be keeping them in a barn, ie off grass, or putting them outside? So far we've put them in at night as a caution against foxes and rain, but let them out again for six hours or so in the day. Now, having done lots of reading, I'm concerned that this is a recipe for bloat if they start eating lovely grass as well as the bottle feeds. Any advice would be very, very welcome.

Hellybee

  • Joined Feb 2010
    • www.blaengwawrponies.co.uk
Re: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2014, 09:42:41 pm »
Its healthy for them to be able to nibble at grass.  my mollies/orphans have an enclosure where they have some grazing, they also have hay and creep and fresh water down at all times. they are penned come twilight and locked up at night x

ZaktheLad

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Thornbury, Nr Bristol
Re: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2014, 10:01:53 pm »
Plus the fresh air and sun on their backs does them the power of good.  Agree with Hellybee - that setup sounds ideal for young orphan lambs  :thumbsup:

LadyFarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
Re: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2014, 10:06:37 pm »
Thank you - really appreciate the reassurance.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2014, 10:11:03 pm »
I think the bloat danger is more for lambs reared indoors going outdoors for the first time.  Lambs used to grass, staying on grass, should be fine, I would have thought.

Just manage them overeating - so don't give them a bellyful of milk on top of a bellyful of grass, and vice versa.  So for instance, mine come in from grass to just hay, I don't give them milk for a few hours.  And I give them time to digest their breakfast milk before they go out to grass in the morning.

And give them feed creep / cake little and often, not big meals. 

You could also include a little natural yoghurt in their milk feeds - it is purported to aid in avoiding bloat.  (I haven't tried it myself but it sounds reasonable to me.)
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: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2014, 10:14:05 pm »
Mine stay indoors until late March, then go out into the garden by day, then 24/7 in garden, then out into the field mid April, by which time the grass is growing well. My lambs were born feb-early March.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2014, 10:16:32 pm »
twizz, you have had some experience of bloat - and avoiding it - haven't you?
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: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2014, 10:19:36 pm »
Yep I've had 1 bloat after getting in a calf cake feeder, the other bloated after a guts of creep and milk the day before I weaned her. R.e grass I put them out for a morning or afternoon first then build it up from there. Creep and grass seems to be ok, creep and milk a big no no, grass and milk I think would be risky hence why mine stay in until they are weaned.

FiB

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2014, 08:44:35 am »
Hope you don't mind a bit of. Hijack lady farmer :fc: ....is it the creep element of creep (ie the powdered milk in it) do you think? Last years orphan lamb was out with the flock all the time from about 2 weeks, so grass and lamlac.   This years 5 week old 'pet lamb' plus 'daft lamb' are in same boat but with access to lamb grower nuts (as pet lamb went off milk for a few days due to orf and  daft lamb won't have lamlac at all following illness.  Growers is what I had in and they seem to eat it ok. The other lambs are helping themselves to all rounders which I have switched to from ewe nuts now that lambs are sharing.....   I am worried about bloat, but don't want to take in if I can help it....the 2 seem to living a naturaliish and healthy life, but other than 2 x 500 ml lamlac for pet lamb, I have no control over what they eat - access to grass, hay and growers nuts is ad lib.


  I think I am looking for a formula,and it probably isn't a science! The art of shepherding (with a dollop of luck)!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2014, 09:20:23 am »
Weeeelll.... this is the sort of thing you should never say, of course... but I don't use creep per se as I haven't found it any better at tempting them to eat cake than whatever else I have at hand.  So mine get 16% stockblend (a mix) or a grower lamb pellet, depending on which is in our hopper at the time.

And, (whispers for fear of attracting the gods of making you regret saying anything), I haven't had a problem with bloat.  Mind, I am pretty careful about not letting them have too much of anything at a time / too much of two things together.

If you were worried, FiB, you could add some natural yoghurt to the lamlac.  It won't do any harm, and it's one of the things you'd put in a remedy if the lamb were to get bloat, so could be a worthwhile precaution?
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: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2014, 09:22:43 am »
I think it's more of if you dampen down creep with water you can see how much it expands. So if a lamb has a tummy full of creep digesting nicely but then has lots of milk this can cause the creep to expand in the stomach, even more so if the milk is warm. Hence then the lamb bloats.

Giving grains (rolled barley) and lots of grass to undeveloped rumen will cause gass which then can't escape hence bloat. That's how I understand it :)

FiB

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2014, 10:34:40 am »
Thanks. Pet lamb seems VERY efficient at letting [size=78%]gas escape [/size] :roflanim:  At a couple of intervals during a bottle hetakes a breath, coughs and farts simultaneously. It tickles the 7 year old in me every time!! (And amuses my 11 yr old son no end!)

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2014, 10:47:54 am »
One surefire recipe for bloat is lambs/goat kids going out onto DAMP/WET grass straight after bottles of warm milk..., so once my goaty kiddies are going out it will be early afternoon and at least 1 1/2 hours after their last bottle. and only if it is dry and not muddy either...

I do the same with bottle lambs, although they do go outside earlier than the kids, and as they are on three bottles much earlier too (7am, 6pm and 10pm) they can stay outside all day. All of mine just get a ewe&lamb coarse mix (and the kids a calf equivalent), I have found they like to pick bits out they like and never had much luck with lamb creep pellets.

ZaktheLad

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Thornbury, Nr Bristol
Re: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2014, 10:58:43 am »
Mine get a sheep course mix too - I think it looks quite tasty myself and far more appealing that the plain pellets!

jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Orphan lambs: on grass or in barn?
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2014, 05:33:44 pm »
There are two ways milk contributes to bloat.

The first is that it gets into the rumen rather than the abomasum - this happens because the reticular/oesophageal reflex isn't activated, which is usually as a result of incorrect feeding technique early on so that the conditioned reflex isn't set up.

The other is that clostridial bacteria get into the abomasum with the milk - a hygiene issue for lambs that have no protection from colostrum.

Creep + milk doesn't cause bloat. Grass + milk doesn't cause bloat.

Too much of any hard food can cause bloat in a ruminant because it promotes the wrong sort of bacteria. This can happen at any age.

Too much lush/wet grass can also cause bloat. This can also happen at any age.

Since the milk should be going into the abomasum and the creep/grass should be going into the rumen, feeding the two, at similar times or not, do not affect each other.

The issue is not whether or not the lamb is getting milk with its creep/grass. The issue is whether or not they are getting too much creep/lush grass and insufficient roughage - hay. And whether or not they are being fed their milk cleanly and correctly.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 05:40:27 pm by jaykay »

 

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