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Author Topic: Weaning bottle fed lambs  (Read 3313 times)


  • Joined Mar 2012
Weaning bottle fed lambs
« on: April 25, 2012, 04:43:42 pm »
Hi all,
I'm getting such conflicting advice on weaning my two 4 week old lambs, please help!
They are both bin ends unable to stand at birth (and for first week had their legs tied together to stop them splaying), one suffered watery mouth, both suffered pneumonia (the watery mouth one one worse that other).
They are now active and hungry!
They started on 4 small feeds a day (about 200ml each per feed) at 6 am 11 am 4pm and 9pm.
As their intake has increased I have reduced this to 3 feeds a day of approx 400ml each.
Now they will happily take a full 500ml bottle at one sitting and I am tempted to cut them down to 2 feeds (2 bottles each) a day at 7 am and 5pm in the hope that they will start showing some interest in the creep which has been available and refreshed (but untouched) for the last 2 weeks. They also have fresh hay and water on tap - don't seem to touch it really - a little mouthing of hay but that's all.
Should I reduce their milk further than this - is 1000ml a  day too much at 4 weeks bearing in mind they started off very scrappy and weak - is it too early to start getting tough with them about hard feed? I don't want to halt their progress (massive improvement over the last few days) by making a wrong move at this point, but am concerned about not weaning them off quick enough as I understand this can result in complications (death by bloat? What the hell is that all about?!).
Hummm, I'm sure you have all been asked this a zillion times, feel free to refer me to a suitable thread if you don't want to type it all over again!
I've been told to starve them and get them weaned right away - can I do that without them losing condition? Heck!
Oh, they are housed at night in a brick shed, on straw and are out pootling about during the day.  They are due to go out into a walled garden (with other lambs plus creep feeder) as soon as, but that's on hold with the weather as is at present. Hence they are softer than the average lamb!
Thanks again, all advice very much appreciated. Oh and how do I get those smiley things down here?! =D


  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: Weaning bottle fed lambs
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2012, 05:04:52 pm »
Hi don't wean them yet,  they are too young, I would be tempted to continue with 3 smaller feeds until they start on the creep and hay, are they on grass? They need to start eating hay or grass to get The tummy working properly, bloat is a build up,of gases, it's serious and if left the lamb will die, it's caused by too much concentrate in one go then.nothing, think feast and famine! They copy other sheep eating grass and hay, If that's not an option then sit with them and pick at the hay or grass to get them interested, I would cut to 2 feeds at 6 weeks assuming they have an intake of feed and grass, then to one feed at 9-10 weeks, then stop completely, they will yell and yell but will get over it.


  • Joined May 2011
    • Briggs' Shetland Lamb
Re: Weaning bottle fed lambs
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2012, 05:24:51 pm »
Follow the recomendations on the packet of milk powder but the amounts recommended are for big breeds of sheep. They should be grazing and eating creep nuts at weaning.


  • Joined Mar 2012
Re: Weaning bottle fed lambs
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2012, 03:05:32 pm »
Thanks muchly both, didn't think to read the milk sack! What a muppet.

Sadly I lost one very suddenly, an autopsy showed digestive failure but don't know why. Sigh.  He was doing really well too, and had started taking the creep the day before - did he have too much?  Very sad about losing him, as he couldn't walk and needed a lot of help initially but was doing so well. 

The other one (who also couldn't walk, had watery mouth and a chest infection so is very soft) is stabled due to this filthy weather, she has hay and creep available, but she's showing no sign of interest in it. The big problem being that she is hating being on her own - screams and screams for company, paces, screams etc etc and just won't settle - so today I have chucked her into the utility with the dogs just to quieten her down (without the creep/hay which is stupid I know but she was really going completely bonkers on her own).

I have 3 other lambs, but they have come off of ewes late (orphaned) hence are tougher, thus outside.  They are all scouring and have today been treated for cocci and worms.  Ideally my cade would be out with them seeing how to behave like a sheep, but the weather is abysmal plus I don't want her scouring or them getting a chest infection. Gah, it's all so difficult!



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