The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: OhLaLa on January 16, 2012, 11:36:50 am

Title: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: OhLaLa on January 16, 2012, 11:36:50 am
First time mum gave birth in the early hours (a week earlier than expected). One of twins still born.

Surviving lamb wobbly on feet, lays down, stands up ok, giving the odd bleat or two and nudging mum to find milk. Mum being pretty good and looking after lamb but lamb doesn't seem to be finding (huge, and to me, obvious) teat. Looks to me like it's poss trying suck on various bits of wool, but not really trying too hard.

I don't know if this lamb has fed or not. I've shown teat to lamb and squeezed a drop of milk to help lamb sniff it out, but it's not suckling. Or not that I've seen.

I don't want to interfere and get it wrong, as it may have fed just fine, but I've heard how fast lambs can go downhill.

What best to do?

If necessary I might be able to milk mum, I have bottles, I also have sachets of milk.

I'm keeping a close eye out, what should I be watching out for?

Shepherds, please advise asap. Thanks.
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: Fleecewife on January 16, 2012, 12:06:02 pm
Hi there.  If the lamb hasn't suckled from the dam by now then it probably won't - it will just get weaker and colder.  The best thing to do is to milk the ewe (if she won't stand for you then sit her on her rump) straight into a warm bottle, then feed the lamb. Don't wait to fill the bottle, just a couple of ounces at first to get something inside the lamb. The dams own colostrum is better for the lamb than packeted, and it has to be colostrum not milk replacer.   If it can't suck then you need to tube it.  Lambs need to feed fairly quickly, and they must have colostrum within 6 hours or so, as their ability to digest it decreases with time.
It may have fed - feel its ears to see if they are warm or cold, and see if its sides are filled out or drawn in.  Check the sucking reflex by putting a clean finger in the mouth - you can also check its temp that way.
If it has got really cold then it will need glucose rather than milk.  Once it has fed from the bottle it should manage from the dam, but watch at first.  Trying to force a lamb onto the dams teat is incredibly frustrating and doesn't usually work.   Good Luck.
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: OhLaLa on January 16, 2012, 12:33:03 pm
Lambs ears cold, one v cold. Sides look droawn in to my eye. Trying to suck bottle ok but not keen to have it in it's mouth at first.

I can't milk the ewe, have got the tinyest drop but she is strong and won't stand.

Am about to make up a feed from sachet.

??


Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: jaykay on January 16, 2012, 12:54:06 pm
Is there someone who can help you milk her- whereabouts are you. I have an Udderly Ez hand milking machine that was designed for just this.
Yes, get something into that lamb and warm it up. Can you put a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel for it to lie on, which will allow you to keep it with the mum. Or do you have a heat lamp you can set up in with her.

 Then clip the fleece from around the udder so that there isn't any wool to suck on instead of the teat. Hopefully it will sort itself out, you just need to keep it going until it does,
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: OhLaLa on January 16, 2012, 01:02:14 pm
Lamb took a little from bottle, seems bit lethergic now, still bleating a bit in reply to others in field.

I've never seen the sachet stuff before, seems v grey and watery compared to the little I got from the mum which is fairly thick and more yellow.

On my own, no one help. Doing a hot water bottle now. Have put more straw bed in.

Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: jaykay on January 16, 2012, 01:11:04 pm
Sounds like it might need tubing with glucose - as Juliet suggests.
Vets?
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: OhLaLa on January 16, 2012, 01:34:49 pm
Took the hot water bottle out there, then it sat in another place.

Lamb tried to suckle but still missing the teat. I've clipped a bit of wool from mum, will go out there again shortly.

If I can't get the lamb to latch on then I will need to bring it in? (as will be cold this eve), in which case I'll need advice on keeping it warm/fed please.

Thanks for the suggestions so far.

Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: doganjo on January 16, 2012, 01:39:46 pm
Vet help needed now I think
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: OhLaLa on January 16, 2012, 01:48:51 pm
What will the vet do - right now, nothing that I can't do, and I am doing, here.
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: SteveHants on January 16, 2012, 01:54:05 pm
Wish Id seen this sooner. If the lamb feels cold, take its temperature, if it falls below 37 degrees, you need to warm it or it could go into shock when it is fed. Always tube a lamb if you think there is the slightest chance it will suck from mum - you want it to get used to its dams teat, not a rubber one. Get some colostrum in it asap - i use volac because it is generally quicker than fannying about trying to milk a ewe and then making sure that milk is 37 degrees when yer in a hurry. You could always tether the dam and literally place it on the teat if the lamb cant find it.

Have you got needles? Id be getting ready to adminster glucose at this stage. 
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: jaykay on January 16, 2012, 02:02:40 pm
The vet could tube, or inject glucose into the peritoneal cavity, if you don't feel confident doing that.
Feel inside its mouth. If that's cold, the body temp is being lost cos no food as fuel, externally heating doesn't do enough in this instance.  It needs that fuel - glucose as emergency and colostrum too. If it gets too cold and weak it won't be able to suckle.
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: woollyval on January 16, 2012, 02:06:15 pm
Wish Id seen this sooner. If the lamb feels cold, take its temperature, if it falls below 37 degrees, you need to warm it or it could go into shock when it is fed. Always tube a lamb if you think there is the slightest chance it will suck from mum - you want it to get used to its dams teat, not a rubber one. Get some colostrum in it asap - i use volac because it is generally quicker than fannying about trying to milk a ewe and then making sure that milk is 37 degrees when yer in a hurry. You could always tether the dam and literally place it on the teat if the lamb cant find it.

Have you got needles? Id be getting ready to adminster glucose at this stage.

My thoughts exactly.....
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: SteveHants on January 16, 2012, 02:09:25 pm
Just to clarify - I wouldn't be administering colostrum if it was cold and unable to hold up its head. Thats glucose into the peritoneal cavity and warming.

Handy chart here: http://www.sac.ac.uk/research/themes/animalhealth/animalhealthwelfare/sheep/lambing/mortality/exposure/ (http://www.sac.ac.uk/research/themes/animalhealth/animalhealthwelfare/sheep/lambing/mortality/exposure/)
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: OhLaLa on January 16, 2012, 02:14:44 pm
My finger inside mouth - mouth does not feel cold. It is frosty outside. It's body feels warm but it has cold ears. Please advise where I should be looking for it's coldness - ears, body?

Lamb has taken some more feed from bottle (sachet). It is holding it's head up to suck the bottle, and sucked that fine.

It has moved to another place to lay and won't stay where the hot water bottle is.

I can't say for sure it hasn't got colostrum from it's ma - it just hasn't been successful in latching on whilst I have been looking.

Apol if posts read a badly - trying to get these typed/posted asap.

Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: SteveHants on January 16, 2012, 02:17:12 pm
Rectal thermometer is more accurate than finger in mouth.

If it is looking more liveley now is the time to get it to suck.

I have a strange hunch it might be impaired visually, actually, bit best not think about that, just get the bugger to feed. 
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 16, 2012, 02:22:00 pm
Assuming the lamb can still hold its head up, it needs as much colostrum as you can get into it, urgently.  When you say 'sachet' is that sachet of replacement milk or of colostrum replacer? 

I always aim for a minimum of 100ml colostrum, in two feeds if necessary, within ideally the first 2 hours and at most the first 6 hours.  More is better, up to half a litre, but my experience is that lambs which get less than 100ml colostrum or colostrum replacer within the first six hours will die.

If you haven't got colostrum replacer and can't milk the ewe, do you have a dairy farm nearby?  The farmer there may be able to let you have some cattle colostrum - it's very much third best but it is better than nothing.

It sounds as though you have got the lamb sucking the bottle now - well done.  But if it won't take as much as it needs you may still have to tube it.

Oh, you've just posted again and you think there is a chance it has taken colostrum from mum.  Let's hope so.  50-100ml extra certainly won't hurt it - but I wouldn't overfill it with formula if you think it can, or you can get it to, get mum's milk.

If the ears are cold and its lethargic, as Juliet says it could probably do with some glucose.  I use Rehydion - it's actually formulated for calves but I find it excellent for lambs.  It gives energy, vitamins, and rehydrates.  You can mix it in water if the lamb is very weak and in milk if the lamb will take it.  Failing that, there's PSF (Pfizer Scour Formula) - again, designed for calves but works for lambs, which being a powder you mix with water will also help rehydrate.  You can also use Lamb Boost or other similar squirt-in-the-mouth vitamin-and-energy products, but that won't help get water into it.

I don't dispute what others here are saying about glucose directly but haven't any experience of that myself.

Its immunity will be compromised by the lack of colostrum in the first few hours, so you may want to think about OraJet as a precaution against some of the bugs it will come across if it survives. 

If the teat is huge it could be too big for the lamb's mouth; this can happen especially when the lamb continues to not suck and the udder and teat just get bigger and bigger and bigger.  If this is the case and the lamb neither sucks nor do you milk the ewe out, the ewe could develop mastitis and/or metabolic disturbances.

Can you not tip the ewe over on her bottom and milk her into a bottle or jug?  If not, get a halter on her head, tie her up, and use your body to hold her against the side of the pen while you milk her into a jug.  If you can't, get someone - anyone, although someone experienced, a farmer or vet would of course be preferable - to help you. 

Re-reading your post it sounds as though the ewe and lamb are running around outside?  I don't know where you are but if it's winter there I would have them penned up in a lambing pen in the warm and dry where I can check them every couple of hours and keep topping the lamb up / hold it against the teat if needed.  If the lamb is weak and not sure of the teat, being out in the open it is unlikely to get enough milk.

And as the lamb has cold ears, although thankfully is not cold in its mouth, it sounds as though somewhere warm and dry for the night for it and mum would be a good plan.

I'm sorry this is disjointed - I'm trying to adapt it as new posts come in!
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: woollyval on January 16, 2012, 02:24:51 pm
Put mum and lamb in a pen together in the warm and go and have a cup of tea. So long as the lamb can stand and walk unaided, is looking for the teat etc and wool clipped back from udder so it gets a clear run at it might just be a bit too much worrying and interferance will not help the situation! Good luck!
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: jaykay on January 16, 2012, 02:28:26 pm
Good - it's holding its head up, it's suckling and it's not cold in its body.

I'd now do as Val says and leave it to find its mum's teat, as long as you've clipped the fleece clear so it can find it. If it were me I'd bring my cuppa back to the barn and get myself comfortable on a bale and watch from a distance.

Fingers crossed nature takes over positively  :)
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: OhLaLa on January 16, 2012, 02:36:13 pm
They are in a pen which is in a small field shelter in the field. Closed on all sides bar one which also has a hay bale to help give wind block. Not v warm out there.

On my own, no help for moving them and no ready building which is warmer than where they are now.

I've checked my first aid kit - no thermometer! On my way to vet now to get colostrum and glucose, doubt he will have a thermometer.

That teat is so large, the lamb is trying to suck above the teat and won't stay 'low' even when I get the teat into it's mouth. It lets go, moves up higher and sucks wool.

I'll have a word with the vet and see what he says but for my part, it's all guess work.

Yes, I am a worrier re my flock. New to this part of smallholding and I really care about my sheep.

Appreciate you guys helping me out, thank you SO much.

Off to the vet now for supplies. Will let you know how it goes.
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: woollyval on January 16, 2012, 02:41:17 pm
Heat lamp!!!!! Just run out to the shed on long extension lead -----you really need this. Also you can if necessary take a old jumper..wool or fleece not acrylic knit and cut off sleeve. Make 4 big slits where lambs legs and pop it on like a jumper with head end out of sleeve.  If ram lamb cut hole for it to wee!!! keep well back from bottom so mum can still smell its hers. Can be a life saver!

Preparation is half the battle when lambing....
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: SteveHants on January 16, 2012, 03:04:02 pm
It would be an interesting day indeed if I met a vetenarian who didn't have access to a  thermometer. 
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: OhLaLa on January 16, 2012, 03:21:44 pm
Electricity too dangerous to leave on out there and roof too low to hang a lamp.

Vet was out! And as I thought, no thermometers for sale.

Got the coloustrum from them but they had no glucose, tried the chemist for glucose - none there but they can get 750gm for tomorrow (25).



Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: woollyval on January 16, 2012, 03:29:14 pm
try tesco for glucose....cake section ::)

how come your roof is not high enough ??? if you and the sheep can get in it must be? also i use sometimes an extension lead designed for going outside...with a safety cut out.....you can buy it all in Screwfix!

Can you get yourself on a lambing course before the rest lamb??? It might help and the cost will be less than a finished lamb so well worth it? :thumbsup:
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: lachlanandmarcus on January 16, 2012, 03:38:16 pm
Any decent size supermarket or any size chemist will have liquid glucose, in a small bottle, more like 2-3 than 25??. And any local sheep farmer will help out in an emergency.

def also go for the jumper, Ive also used a small dog coat on bigger lambs.

Def get Mum sitting on her bum facing away from you with her back leaning against your legs, it's quite easy then to milk out some milk into a container and then put it into a bottle.(I say its easy cos Im pretty hopeless and have managed it!).

Lambing courses are very useful esp as eg the one I went on they give you a flow chart that details what to do. That chart underlines how important temperature of the lamb can be as to which way you go with treatment (it can kill them if you go the wrong way) so would really recommend it - ours was held in commercial lambing time so was before our lambing so there may well be one on soon nearby at an agric college.

Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: jaykay on January 16, 2012, 03:39:33 pm
Feed ordinary sugar (sucrose) in the absence of glucose. Could mix it into the colostrum mix, save feeding two things separately.
If elec. not safe, woolly jumper and regular hot water bottles will help. Hopefully mum will take over. Fingers crossed.

This website is good:
Http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/English/livestock/sheep/facts/98-089.htm (http://Http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/English/livestock/sheep/facts/98-089.htm)
Shows how to make a warming box too.

To make a 20% sucrose solution, for it to drink, you need 20g sugar dissolved in every 100ml water - or 8oz dissolved in 2pints!
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: Dougal on January 16, 2012, 04:28:34 pm
Ach it's no drama, you lack a wee bit experience. That's not a fault just a fact o life, we all have to start at the bottom and learn our own ways. Take a breath in these situations. The lamb is early and therefore will always be weaker than normal but on the plus side you've got a good mum there and the lamb is still trying so it's got plenty energy left in the tank. They are out of the worst of the weather which will be more than enough for the two of them. That wee lamb has got the biggest boiler in it's world right next to it to help keep it warm. As for the milk situation. Tip the ewe on her bum. squeeze the wax from her teats, drop the lamb on it's ribs (lambs backbone along the ewe's leg, doesn't matter what side, the tit to put the lamb on will be obvious) Squeeze the teat as if you are going to milk the ewe but before the milk comes out stick the teat in the lambs mouth and squirt the milk in the lambs mouth holding the lambs head to keep the teat in its mouth. Do this a few times, if the lamb doesn't suck then tickle his tail and rump. That should help stimulate him to suck. Keep you patience this can take what feels like hours. keep milking the ewe into the teat so that there is a good pressure of milk for the lamb to suckle. If this fails. milk the ewe (about 80ml) and tube the little sod! Then go and have a cuppy for you have done all you can. If it is a ewe lamb take a nick from it's ear and don't keep it for stock!
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: OhLaLa on January 16, 2012, 05:37:22 pm
Right, nothing more i can do tonight, other animals and little people need me now. Not sure if lamb will make it but have done what I can. I'll be cutting myself up either way if it doesn't get through the night. Should have left it to mum/didn't do enough/should have brought it in.

I can't catch and tip the ewes, haven't got the knack and they are strong.

It has it's little jumper jacket as suggested, not over bum or lower back so mum can sniff the lamb. I've put more hay bales around the exterior of pen as an extra wind block. Lamb is starting to look to me as I've fed it, so of course I'm worrying all the more now but have left it with it's natural mum.

Thanks Dougal, yes, I certainly lack experience with sheep.

No courses i could do otherwise I would have been on one well before now. And i can't spare the time to go off on one.

The roof space inside isn't high enough to hang a lamp, it is too low. I can't even stand up in there.

Again, my thanks to all you experienced shepherds for your advice. Appreciate you taking the time away from your flocks to reply to this post.




Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: SteveHants on January 16, 2012, 06:28:45 pm
If you can't go on a course (and lets face it - I haven't) - the DVD 'Lamb Survival' by David C Henderson is a useful thing.

Print out that chart I linked to so that you have it handy in future.

Its interesting to learn what other people do, I would never bottle feed anything that I wanted to suckle a ewe, always tube feed (and you know exactly what quantity the lamb is getting when you tube it) and I'd never thought to give glucose orally, would always inject (not that I can see anything wrong with giving it orally). I've found those mineral pumps an absolute git to administer, ending up mostly round the lambs face so I tube those, too mixed in with a bit of colostrum. There's no reason sheep need an actual shed, windbreaks with bales are absolutley fine.
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: feldar on January 16, 2012, 08:27:12 pm
We've all been there! i've been lambing a few years now and still get caught out with situations you don't expect. But this is a plea to all you new lambers and not so new, if you can't go on a course and let's face it a course can't cover everything, get yourselves a couple of really good sheep books.
My copies are still used and are well thumbed, i still use for reference and if you read up a bit before you start lambing, you have a head start of what to expect. Emergencies often happen in the night when no one is on-line to help you but your book is always there.
Also do some research are your breeds difficult lambers or are they best left alone.
Also get some experience; tubing a lamb is quite easy when you know how and can mean life or death for a cold newborn. Try to find a friendly farmer who will show you how.
Good luck and remember nature wants lambs to survive and mostly they do, take a step back and a deep breath before rushing in. and sometimes with all the help we can give they still die , that's just the way it goes, don't beat yourself up about it
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: doganjo on January 16, 2012, 09:43:23 pm
If anyone in Central Scotland wants a lambing course we (Central Scotland Smallholders) are running one on 11th February.
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: Moleskins on January 16, 2012, 11:04:28 pm
I've had a problem in the past of a lamb sucking on wool, this is what I did,
pin mum in corner, get lamb and put finger in mouth, push lamb under mum
and this is the hard bit, feel for teet with same hand as the finger in mouth is from,
swap finger for teet and at the same time slip hand back behind
lambs head to hold it on the teet. Generally they get the idea on the second go !!
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: khajou on January 16, 2012, 11:08:26 pm
OLL. Where do you live?
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 17, 2012, 01:17:36 am
Its interesting to learn what other people do, I would never bottle feed anything that I wanted to suckle a ewe, always tube feed (and you know exactly what quantity the lamb is getting when you tube it)

Isn't it interesting how we have different approaches?

I have never had a problem getting a bottled lamb to take to a ewe.  Sometimes, if a lamb has been on the bottle for quite a while, its suck is too strong for a nervous / first-timer ewe to tolerate, so if fostering a bottled lamb onto such a ewe I would pick a lamb that hasn't been on the bottle for more than a day or two, if possible.  But I have successfully fostered even quite big - and very actively sucking - lambs onto young ewes, in one case a large mule lamb onto a shearling Swaledale - he was already about half her size!  (I picked him on purpose as he was big enough to take care of himself - she'd killed her own very tiny lamb.  She hated him for about a week but couldn't escape him, penned as they were, and then loved him to bits.  She was a very good mum in subsequent years.)

I do actively try to bottle feed lambs that I think are likely to need topping up or even be taken off the mother later on - for instance triplets, or twins on a hogg or thin ewe.  If they've experienced the bottle when they were tiny they adapt to it more readily later on.  I have had a few - not many, but a few - older lambs that wouldn't take to a bottle and whose mams ran out of milk, or died, so the lamb has ended up really struggling or even dying.

But then, I am not the world's most confident tuber of lambs.  I do do it when I need to, but I'll always try to bottle feed first.  I do think once the lamb starts sucking you have a better chance of getting it on the teat - at least it knows what it's trying to achieve! 
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: Fleecewife on January 17, 2012, 09:19:47 am
Hi OhLaLa   What happened over night?
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: holz306 on January 17, 2012, 10:20:41 am
Where abouts are you, maybe someone on here knows someone close by that could help out? My first lambing experience was similar to this, my first ewe lambed early, lost one twin and i ended up bottle feeding the other as the ewe kept trying to attack it as if she didn't reckognisse it as her lamb, and only had interest in the weaker one (the one that died) i tried everything suggested on here wih both lambs, including catching, penning, turning the ewe and milking her but had little success with her so she didn't get bred from again....whether that was the right decision or not i don't know but she turned into a right b*tch of a sheep and i didn't want to risk going through it again.

I think anyone that has had experience of breeding animals will at some point have asked themselves all the questions, should i have interefered/left alone/done enough et.  All you can do is your best, and have faith in the decisions you make then move forward. 
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: jaykay on January 17, 2012, 11:16:21 am
How you doing, is it still with you?
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: OhLaLa on January 17, 2012, 11:36:51 am
Lamb didn't make it. Very sad.

-------------------------------------------------

Dogjo - off topic - suggest you start up a new thread if you want to inform about courses.
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: SallyintNorth on January 17, 2012, 11:44:00 am
OhLaLa I am very sorry to hear about your lamb.  :bouquet:

We all have tragedies along the way, sadly that's one of the ways we learn.

I hope the next few go well and give you some happy bouncing lambs  :love: :sheep: :sheep: - and help to restore you some confidence.

Annie, I think it's great to put info about courses on threads such as these - lots of people will search this thread when looking for help with their own newborn lambs.  But would you also think it is a good idea to create a thread about the courses (if one doesn't already exist) and link to that thread from here (and similar threads)?
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: jaykay on January 17, 2012, 11:51:07 am
Oh, I'm sorry , :-*

You did your best for it and it didn't have the greatest start, arriving early as it did. Happens to us all, sadly whilst you try your socks off, you can't fix them all  :-\
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: Anke on January 17, 2012, 12:15:06 pm
These things happen, if the lambs were a week early it would have had an uphill struggle. Just watch that the ewe doesn't get mastitis. If you can milk some late colostrum/early milk out of her - freeze it for future use to tube similar cases. If she is very full you may have to ease her out for a few days if you haven't got any lambs to put onto her. And yes ewes are not that easy to milk - tiny teats!

Have you got the Tim Tyne book? - if you cannot go on a course this is the next best thing.

I have warmed lambs up with a hair drier successfully in the past... and I would always tube lambs in preference to bottle-ing them, but will put kids quickly onto the bottle (and milk the nanny) if they are slow to get on. But it is different.
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: Fleecewife on January 17, 2012, 01:00:33 pm
I'm so sorry the lamb didn't make it OhLaLa.  There will be a little gap in your flock this year  :(.  It does sound as if the ewe lambed early, so the lambs would have been weaker than normal.  Some lambs just can't survive so don't be too upset about it.  Your next lambs will be bouncing and everything will go ok.

For the future, when the lambs are born, keep a distant eye on them to make sure that they feed in the first few hours.  If they don't feed then they get colder and colder and less likely to feed unassisted. (Cold ears are the first sign, then cold mouth)   Although you can try warming them up with a hotwater bottle (wrap both lamb and the bottle in an old towel and hold them on your lap), on a radiator (in a towel again), in the bottom oven of the aga or under a heat lamp, they will only be truly warm once they have sucked and have a full belly.  However, if they get too cold and you then get milk into them, they can't digest it and can die of that.  So that is why warmed glucose is worth a try, orally.  Injecting it into the abdomen is not something you should try unless you know how to do it, as obviously you could puncture the bowel.  Glucose powder is very cheap from the agric store.
You could need to intervene in a lambing, for which you need the ewe on her side, so you do need to learn how to tip her (whilst not squashing the lamb) - there is a knack to it which makes it fairly easy. Once she is on her side, a foot or knee under her shoulder will keep her there.
 I am wondering whether that overlarge teat you described may have been the problem initially with this lamb.   Sometimes too the lamb can't get the wax plug from the teat if its sucking reflex is not strong, and runs out of energy before it can get any milk.  Milking the ewe would have dislodged the wax and also emptied the udder a bit and reduced the size of the teat, as well as getting her used to something at her teats.
Whilst keeping an eye on her postpartum, you could practice both tipping her and milking her.
As I said before, and others agree, trying to attach a cold lamb to an unwilling teat can be SO frustrating - it makes me furious  ;D
Once a lamb has fed it will curl up happily and sleep for ages - if it's warm and sleeping soundly, even if you don't see it feed, then it is ok. If you pick it up it will feel heavier than it did at birth.  An unfed lamb will stand up looking hunched and cold, with a sucked-in belly, or lie flopped out on the straw.

So, put this behind you but learn from it - we are all learning all the time, and I think most of us have been where you just have.  :bouquet:
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: Cinderhills on January 17, 2012, 06:33:27 pm
I am so sorry. :(  I was getting stressed just reading your posts.  I feel for you.  From my limited experience you must learn how to feed via a stomach tube, could a local sheep farmer help?  Last year I had to do this for a lamb who started life in the Aga.  It was invaluable as I knew he was getting enough colostrum (I used powdered as was hard for me to get it from the mother) and he didn't want to suckle from a bottle.

I don't know how I would have coped with that situation in my first year of lambing.  Things will get better for sure.
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: doganjo on January 17, 2012, 07:09:17 pm

Annie, I think it's great to put info about courses on threads such as these - lots of people will search this thread when looking for help with their own newborn lambs.  But would you also think it is a good idea to create a thread about the courses (if one doesn't already exist) and link to that thread from here (and similar threads)?
I already did - any courses I mention will be CSSA (Central Scotland Smallholders) and very soon SimonO will be taking over this mantle!  ;) ;D
http://www.accidentalsmallholder.net/forum/index.php?topic=19842.msg186031#msg186031 (http://www.accidentalsmallholder.net/forum/index.php?topic=19842.msg186031#msg186031)
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: Tilly on January 17, 2012, 08:45:05 pm
Hi OhLALA
......sorry to read the outcome- but I`m afraid lambing time can be a roller coaster of emotions  :-\ :bouquet:

-Take a deep breath, roll your sleeves up! and back to looking after everything else........

Tilly

Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: Rosemary on January 17, 2012, 09:10:34 pm
Really sorry to hear about your lamb and all the trauma. I had my fingers crossed for you both. :(

Hope the rest of your lambing goes well. :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep:
Title: Re: urgent - newborn lamb - should I 'help'?
Post by: Dougal on January 19, 2012, 02:59:41 pm
Lambs born early are always an uphill battle. Even those of us that are experienced often lose them. You said that it's mate was still born? was it toxoplasmosis infection? This can often weaken the living lamb hugely. Also if the other lamb died in the womb then that can seriously affect the viabilty of the remaining lamb. Chalk it up to experience. You did the very best you could and now you know a few tips to help the next time, because there will be a next time with sheep!
I mentioned tickling the lambs tail and rump, you don't need to have the ewe tipped to make that work. Hold the ewe against a wall or the side of the pen with your knee in front of it shoulder. ease the lamb round onto the teat (still holding the ewe) once you get the lamb onto the teat if you tickle it's tail in will stimulate the suckle response.
You will now know as well that to do these things you need to to be 7' 8", bulit like a bull and have 5 hands and 17 thumbs!
Chin up, you have all the rest to look after, and look forward too!