Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Rejected lambs  (Read 3060 times)

Mel Rice

  • Joined Sep 2011
Rejected lambs
« on: November 23, 2011, 10:25:58 am »
Two years ago my mum sheep rejected her first lamb...I thought it was because auntie had cleaned it (I hadnt separated them in time) I was able to raise the lamb by holding Mum to let it feed. Mum and lamb did well by waning time mum was letting lamb feed so I was able to leave her to it.
Last year I made sure Mum was separate before lambing. She had a lovely big male, cleaned it but would not feed was dead by the next morning. Two failures meant she was the one to go in the freezer not the planned last years other lamb (my other mum)
The lamb that I helped with is (hopefully) in lamb and I hope she will not inherit her mums lack of mothering skills and take after aunty who is great.
What are her chances? Anything anyone else would do? advice now please!


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Rejected lambs
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2011, 10:44:03 am »
I don't think there's anything you can do other than take the same care you have in the past and wait and see - be ready to step in if she does prove to be a poor mother, but give her the benefit of the doubt. Hope she turns out to be OK.


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Rejected lambs
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2011, 11:48:23 am »
One of my sfflk/txl cross ewes rejected her lambs for two years in a row, but both times I penned the lambs in a seprate pen next to mum and went down every two hours to hold them onto her. She butted them away, but you quickly get the hang of holding the ewe with your knees against the side of the pen and helping the lamb to suckle. After a week of this she was happy to have her lambs in with her and has proved to be a very good mum. But it meant that once she started lambing I stayed with her until she lambed (second time during the night...) . I also made sure lambs had their colostrum plus some artificial colostrum/milked out some.

I did not go to feed every two hours during the night, just gave the lambs a belly full of colostrum/goatsmilk through a tube and then a 5 am feed from mum again. They were actually really strong lambs.

This last year she lambed in the field during the day (I was watching though) and let the lambs suckle immediately... so really my only advice would be supervise her and if you have any inkling that she may start to lamb stay with her and watch. Only intervene if absolutely necessary and have a couple of pens (one with a heat lamp) ready if needed. if she starts  to butt the lambs separate them and force her to let the lambs suckle. She can sniff them through the pen. Mothering instinct should kick in within a few days. And I would keep auntie well away if possible.

However I have to admit that I had a wisper into her ear just before lambing - the words freezer and curry were mentioned .... it definitely did the trick...

PS.: Her daughter lambed this year for the first time - long labour, lamb No1 came with the head only, but was quickly removed by bringing one leg forward. Lamb No2 just shot out... but no issues re suckling, she was a good mum. Maybe not an inherited trait then...


  • Joined Jul 2010
  • orkney
Re: Rejected lambs
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2011, 04:52:53 pm »
They're all different. I think you would be extremely unlucky if this turned out to be a genetically inherited characteristic. I've never really found this to be the case.

Mel Rice

  • Joined Sep 2011
Re: Rejected lambs
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2011, 04:50:40 pm »
Im hoping she will be ok. She is the nicest sheep of my tiny flock (two adults and last years two lambs) Auntie is a black-faced mutton sheep...a german breed, and was horrid as a lamb, a lovely mum and is now not so nice again, hope she will be nice as a mum again this year. Its funny watching them change , not only is each one diferent but they change with the seasons!


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Rejected lambs
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2011, 08:48:03 pm »
Auntie is a black-faced mutton sheep...a german breed,

 ??? Any pictures?


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