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Author Topic: Sick lamb  (Read 3035 times)

Elizabeth sarmiento

  • Joined Jun 2014
Sick lamb
« on: June 15, 2014, 12:23:48 pm »
I have a 3 week old twin lamb, lost mum to fly strike,  one twin is thriving on the bottle, but the other twin is growing weaker, she will not take the bottle so I'm struggling getting the milk down him, the only way I've been keeping it alive, I've got a ewe with one lamb and I put it on her, she goes mad but don't know wat else to do, I've got. A tube ov lamb reviver but no instructions on how to use, can any one advise me I'm only new at this, and this is my fist time, only have a small flock,


  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Sick lamb
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2014, 03:43:36 pm »
I have never used a tube before for lambs. my advice would be to ask your vet to show you how to tube feed a lamb. Good luck :)
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.


  • Joined Oct 2012
  • Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire
Re: Sick lamb
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2014, 07:00:27 pm »
Is this a tube with as large syringe like and and a long thin rubber tube? Ie a stomach tube?
I have also heard of "lamb reviver" as a paste type mix of minerals and energy that a squirt of will give a lamb a boost.
A foster mum may well be a good option, but the ewe won't be impressed as she will know its not her lamb at this age.
You could force the issue using an adopter crate where the ewe is held by her head so she cant see or smell the lambs, usually for a few days, by which time she may accept the adoptee lamb, but still may reject it.
It may require perseverance to teach the lamb to suck a bottle, but if it is struggling, I would first check that it is not unwell, ie no temperature, clear lungs etc, your vet should be able to check the lamb and bringing it to the surgery is often an easy cheaper option for this.
How much milk are you managing to get into it? It may be being stubborn, but if its not getting enough, sometimes a boost of nutrient paste such as i described before or vitamin injection from the vet can help.
If not, you may need to top it up by stomach tube if its not getting enough. The tube is placed into the mouth, I slide it in the corner, using my finger to open the mouth and encourage the lamb to suck. Pass it gently, and you will feel the lamb chew and swallow it down and there will be no choking. Then you can give the milk down the tube. Depending on the size, a newborn triplet or native lamb will probably only have space for 50ml at a time, a big well grown single Suffolk lamb at 3 weeks would take much more. 150ml at a feed at this age is unlikely to cause any problems, but any choking you should stop immediately. The lambs stomach should feel round but not bloated when you have fed. Frequency of feeds depends how often it feels empty. I would always offer the bottle first, and it should start taking the bottle once it gets stronger.
The farmer who taught me to stomach tube lambs always said that if the tube ever goes down the wrong way into the lungs, the lamb was too weak to have survived as the throat is very well designed to swallow it down the right way.
There are also videos of how to stomach tube on youtube, sometimes easier to see it than explain!
Good luck with the little one


  • Joined Jan 2013
  • banffshire
Re: Sick lamb
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2014, 07:10:11 pm »
I sometimes wonder why people bother to post when they actually have nothing to say ! Just saying like !!!


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Sick lamb
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2014, 07:25:01 pm »
This problem has been discussed many times and it takes time and tons of patience to get a stubborn lamb to drink , you need to stop suckling it on the ewe if you want it to take the bottle as you are filling it up and its not  really hungry  .  3 wk old lambs are not easy to tube ,strong and a lot of teeth .   You can try leaving  milk in a small bucket for the lamb to drink  it'll help it get used to the taste


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Sick lamb
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2014, 08:30:18 pm »
I sometimes wonder why people bother to post when they actually have nothing to say ! Just saying like !!!

Use Ignore User - I do ;)
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


  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Sick lamb
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2014, 10:48:51 am »
I find that it takes time for them to get used to the bottle, when we ve scooped up little non thriving ones whilst still at bottle age it took a good few times of getting them used to taking the bottle, keep gently trying, no force just cajoling them.  Or like someone has said above try a bowl of milk instead.  Get some rehydion into them too. 

Ours are off the bottle now, but I still hold them back they have either several hours out grazing on the yard or I go pick them grass several times a day, plus they have three rationed creep feeds a day, and plenty of fresh water.


  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Sick lamb
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2014, 04:32:19 pm »
How many bottles are you down to? You could take this as a time to drop a bottle, but then of course as long as he's drinking plenty of water.   Spacing the milk and hard feed well is a good thing.  Since Sally said this I do exactly the same.  It struck a chord that they're half milk and half grass/hard feed gut wise, so you don't want to overcrowd either parts, if that makes sense, ration nuts and grazing whilst on bottle to ensure they're not over eating.  Plenty of hay around though, always. 


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