Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Refusing to bottle feed  (Read 3296 times)


  • Joined Jul 2011
Refusing to bottle feed
« on: April 12, 2013, 10:58:48 am »
Hi, last weekend I had a ewe come down with mastitis. We have taken her twins from her and these are now being bottle fed. They were just over two weeks old when we took them from her and both are good strong ewe lambs. One took to the bottle straight away however the other is just refusing. She will chew the teat in the corner of her mouth but won't suck. Each feed is taking a very long time and I'd say she takes 150ml max. They were taken from mum on Monday and seem fine however I'm concerned that the one not sucking isnt getting the food she needs. They have hay, creep and water too.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated :-)


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Refusing to bottle feed
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2013, 11:14:26 am »
They're so irritating, aren't they?

How many times is she taking 150ml?  If it's 4 or more, that's probably enough to keep her going, depending on your milk powder - mine is 1L max per lamb per day, some are 1.5L max.  If she doesn't look hollow, isn't hollering for a feed, and isn't becoming skin and bone, she's fine. :)

If you're still not happy, I wrote up some suggestions here - have a look at that first.

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

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Refusing to bottle feed
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2013, 11:15:33 am »
Sounds like you're doing all the right things, if she seems OK.  Some do take quite a long time before the penny drops and it generally seems easier for them to go from bottle to teat than vice versa.  You could try making the teat hole a bit bigger so the milk flows before she starts chewing, but if she has a good sucking reflex she'll probably splutter a bit at first!


  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Refusing to bottle feed
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2013, 07:01:22 pm »
She's having that 3 times a day so about 300-400mls a day. The milk I have says 1.25 litres a day.


  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: Refusing to bottle feed
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2013, 08:45:29 pm »
Some lambs especially older ones can take some time to accept the bottle.  I had to bottle feed one triplet who wasn't thriving in the field with her mum, she was about 2 weeks old and it took about a week for her to stop fighting the teat!  She started off taking a very small amount at a time (mostly what I squirted into her mouth  ::)  ) but now the penny has dropped and she takes 500ml at a a time! 

Keep persevering, it's frustrating at first but they will eventually cotton on!
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep


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