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Author Topic: Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter  (Read 490 times)

Nelson International

  • Joined Aug 2017
Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter
« on: April 11, 2021, 09:57:39 pm »
Hiya,

Iím another one with a ewe who has twins (both male) both feeding on the same side (as of 36 hours since lambing). Having had a good look, the teat on other side doesnít seem to expel any milk, although both sides feel identical in terms of temperature and firmness. (She actually has 2 teats on the barren side, although one is very small.)

Reading my notes from last year, it looks like it might have been true then as well - she had twins, but we noticed one of the lambs was stealing milk from other ewes, and we ended up giving the ewe extra food as we were a bit worried about her condition.

So my plan is to keep a close eye on her udders, but I need to decide whether to take a lamb off her or not. Weíd rather avoid having a pet lamb if possible - donít want the kids to bond extra with a ram that wonít be here long term, at the very least. Adopting seems unlikely as weíre not due another lamb for 3-4 days probably. Reading old threads, people talk about topping up twins in similar situations. That seems like a good solution for us, so I wondered if anyone had experience of doing it, and how one knows how much milk to give, and from how many days old?

Any advice would be great, thx.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2021, 10:34:29 pm »
I always go for the "top up in the field" option if I can.  The lamb gets to live a normal life that way, has a ewe for a mum, a flock to be part of, learns to eat grass at the normal time, and it's much less of a tie for the human support carer.

My rule of thumb is to feed as much milk to the lambs as I think the ewe is short.  So if you think she has enough for one lamb but is feeding two, aim to give one lamb's ration.  Whether all to one lamb or split between them doesn't matter, unless you are sure only one lamb is getting onto the good teat.

Rule 1 of bottle feeding always applies : at any feed, stop feeding a lamb which is getting "love handles" behind the ribs; it's full.   (I always get them feeding with them standing normally so that I can monitor this.)

So I usually start offering a bottle to both lambs, but of course starting with the lamb which looks the hungriest or which you have just seen trying unsuccessfully to suckle.  As long as you stick to Rule 1 all the time, it won't hurt to be topping up the lamb which is getting more of its mum's milk - it all helps reduce the overload on mum.  And every time I've done it, eventually one lamb stops coming for a bottle.  (Or sometimes 2 if I am topping up triplets.)

And I start straight away, even if she has enough milk for them for the first few days.  The sooner you get them on a bottle, the easier it is.  And if they had a bottle early on and need a top up when they're older, it's usually easier to get them to take the bottle then.

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

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
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Re: Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2021, 07:37:24 am »
have been topping up myself in this situation this year ......  but 2 weeks on the ewe seems to be making enough milk for both for both from one teat .... they are growing like mad.... I continue to offer the bottle every day

 I have 2 others I'm also topping up as milk supply is a bit short for rearing twins (wouldnt have bred these 2 ewes but my ewe numbers were rather short) ..... much easier than taking off and rearing totally on the bottle ..... mum does the caring and you only have to feed 2 or 3 times a day in the daytime!

 
   I used the topping up in the field method last year for quads ..... worked like a dream .... all 4 continued to race over for their bottle then race back to mum when had enough.
Linda

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Nelson International

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2021, 08:10:01 am »
Thanks both of you - that's incredibly helpful. We've started giving them the bottle - so far they do seem to try to drink, but don't have a great deal and then lose interest. I guess the key is to get them used to it for a little firther down the road when their demands put more pressure on the mum.

Nelson International

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2021, 08:45:12 pm »
A week on, and one of the lambs reliably takes 50-75ml a time, morning lunch and dinner, whilst the other has zero interest, so I think a) they're both getting most of what they need from mum, and b) the hierarchy between the two is clear. 

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2021, 11:06:55 am »
Great, sounds as though it's working well for them and for you.   :thumbsup:
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

Nelson International

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2021, 08:47:52 pm »
Uggh, the two of them have come up in some facial scabs. We've never had orf before in the farm and they're both otherwise doing well (still drinking at most 50ml at a time) so I'm hoping it's scabs due to eating at bracken and brambles (it 's super dry here and still little grass growing). But the fact it's the two of them and none of the other lambs really makes me worry it is orf.

At what point should I call a vet in? Can I do anything other than wear gloves and monitor them (& their mother's udder)?



twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2021, 08:05:18 am »
Certainly looks like orf. Put rock salt and/or a brinnicombe frobut bucket out in the field, that will help the lambs that have got it and help lessen the effects on any that might catch it from now on. Unless it gets infected I wouldnít call the vet. Orf is a virus so itís just got to run itís course, but be mindful that itíll probably be back every year now. Just watch the ewes and make sure their udders are ok.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2021, 09:16:16 am »
That looks like orf.

Eating brambles could be a causative factor.  Orf gets in through broken skin, so eating prickly things can lead to an outbreak of orf.


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

Nelson International

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2021, 04:37:09 pm »
Thanks. I've separated them out from the other sheep at least for the time being, and I have some rock salt on order.

It's funny how guilty you can feel about something that you have basically no control over. My head says it's a random act of bad luck, but I still feel pretty bad about it.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Topping up twins to a ewe with only one quarter
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2021, 07:40:50 pm »
I know exactly what you mean.   :hug: 
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

 

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