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Author Topic: Need advice with Bucket feeding  (Read 2146 times)

Jaq Bee

  • Joined May 2015
  • Czech Republic
Need advice with Bucket feeding
« on: May 26, 2015, 10:05:00 pm »
I have two week old twins that the mother rejected and have been bottle feeding them until today. Today my feeding bucket arrived and they have taken to it very easily. I just have to say the only reason I want to change to a bucket is that I am going away for a few days and it will be easier for the person who is taking care of them to put milk in the bucket and maintain it rather than them having to bottle feed every 6 hours.
This evening one of the lambs was feeding and suddenly started coughing/choking. I figured maybe she had guzzled to quickly and it had 'gone down the wrong hole', I know it can be a big problem if they get milk in their lungs. What should I do if this happens again?
Another question, how do others that use the bucket regulate how much they get each feed? I don't want to overfill the bucket and one or both get bloated.
I only have two ewes and the first gave birth 3 months ago to triplets. She stopped feeding one at two weeks old and I bottle fed her with no problems at all. I just really need some advice about bucket feeding.


  • Joined Apr 2015
  • Pembrokeshire
Re: Need advice with Bucket feeding
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2015, 09:33:37 am »
A few of questions:-
Did they get colostrum - either ewe or artificial?
Are they healthy and growing well in you opinion?
How much are they drinking from the bottle each feed/per day?


  • Joined Oct 2010
  • South Northamptonshire
Re: Need advice with Bucket feeding
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2015, 09:37:06 am »
Strangely enough letting the bucket get empty can (indirectly) cause bloat.  If it's kept topped up (but cleaned regularly) they tend to eat little on often.  I lost a lamb to bloat this year as there was a problem with the feeder one afternoon which meant the lamb got hungry. As soon as we spotted the problem and got the milk flowing again the hungry lamb bolted the milk down and was dead within 24 hours.

When ad-lib feeding I'm sure they can go for an hour without milk but the key seems to be not to let them get too hungry.  If they do, limit the milk again when reintroducing to make sure they don't over do it.

Jaq Bee

  • Joined May 2015
  • Czech Republic
Re: Need advice with Bucket feeding
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2015, 10:05:26 am »
Both babies got colostrum but I had to milk the ewe and bottle feed them because she was pushing them away.
I persevered for 3 days by tying her and letting them feed but she really was not happy about it and kept kicking them off. I took them from her at 3 days as they were hungry and she was being aggressive with them. Btw, she is a first timer.
I milked her for a few days but have now changed to formula because the person who will be looking after them will not be able to milk her. The crazy thing for me is she let me milk her just fine!
They were on 150ml every 6 hours up until yesterday when I fixed the bucket in the stall. They are a week old today.
The are both healthy, jumping around, peeing and pooping fine and growing.
So, I should put a few litres in the bucket? I was just worried they would overfeed.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 10:08:43 am by Jaq Bee »


  • Joined Apr 2015
  • Pembrokeshire
Re: Need advice with Bucket feeding
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2015, 01:01:38 pm »
I usually get mine down to three then two feeds a day over the first three weeks or so so they tend to self limit. My aim is not to have them sucking the bucket dry.  This year, at about 5 weeks they limited themselves to 1.75 litres between the four of them twice a day and I'm now weaning them off by reducing the amounts and letting them suck the bucket dry (about 7 weeks).  I know other people like to wean earlier from add lib.

Having said this, the lambs usually run with the odd ewe that's around with triplets that are being monitored and so not are the accessing food, hay/grass they have a role model and start eating really early on. This doesn't help you but this year the lambs stayed with their mum - she wanted them but was dry - and star that she is she mothered up the fourth one of her own accord.

I'm not going to give you advice, just passing on my experience, only you will be able to work out what's going to work best for you.  Actually I will give advice - wash everything really thoroughly at least once if not twice a day and this is possibly the most important thing your friend will have to do.

Jaq Bee

  • Joined May 2015
  • Czech Republic
Re: Need advice with Bucket feeding
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2015, 07:33:11 am »
Thank you for your replies. They seem to have mastered it now and keeping it fuller has made them take little and often. Of course I will get the person who is taking care of them to clean the bucket daily and I have friends who will spend time with them and a vet on call if there are any problems.


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