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Author Topic: Weaning bottle fed lambs  (Read 40397 times)


  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Weaning bottle fed lambs
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2013, 02:47:28 pm »
We wean ours at 6-8 wks with no creep. Most at 6wks. They are kept on a small grass paddock from a wk old so by then are munching happily. Never had any problems whatsoever. If you feed them creep they will without any doubt grow quicker but most of ours have caught up by autumn.
even better!  That is what I was hoping to hear!!!  He is eating grass pretty purposefully - I just need to see him drink from the stream.  Its not like he's GOT to be ready at a certain time - as long as I wouldn't be being cruel - that's what I was mostly worried about.  Going down to 1 bottle should last a week  so he will be 8 wks then.  Many thanks all fxx


  • Joined Sep 2013
Re: Weaning bottle fed lambs
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2013, 12:42:45 am »
Hi all! Being completely new to this lamb raising caper, I have a bottle fed, lactose intolerate lamb that has reached the miraculous 10 weeks of age. He's grazing well and I'm now cutting back on his litre of milk a day. Question - how do you
 teach an only lamb to drink water from a container? This is I think is the last hurdle he'll need to learn about. If anyone has
any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Weaning bottle fed lambs
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2013, 03:21:32 am »
I've never had to teach them.  But then my pets have been being reared March / April so start their lives indoors eating hay - that makes them drink water!

I'd expect your lamb to just drink when he's thirsty. Really, I think it's instinctive.  But if you're worried, could you keep him indoors on hay to make sure?
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 Jan 2012
  • Devon
Re: Weaning bottle fed lambs
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2013, 09:44:46 am »
When I was weaning bottle fed lambs for the first time this year I thought one was dehydrated because she had what looked like dried snot all round her nose so I gave her a bottle of warm water (instead of milk) for 3 days while the others cried that they were missing out.  I'm sure it slowed her learning to drink water from the bucket and it turns out the crusty stuff round her nose was probably orf so the whole exercise was rather futile except she is now especially tame because she thinks I love her more than the others because I fed her for longer ;)
Never ever give up.


  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Weaning bottle fed lambs
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2013, 10:27:15 am »
I don't bother with creep feed, I bought it in once and the lambs wouldn't eat it, complete waste of money at the time as all they wanted was grass. Our pasture is very diverse in plant and grass varieties and we're not densely stocked so they were probably getting everything they needed already. We use permaculture on our holding so policy is to nurture the soil and pasture and let nature do the rest; regular stock moves (weekly); don't pulverise the grass and encourage it's growth; regular manuring from the animals.
Since seeing how much better mothered lambs thrive compared with bottled I've tried to mimic the natural feeding patterns when bottling. It's a tall order, as it would normally be on-demand and limited by the ewes tolerance levels, but I try to as closely as practically possible by feeding lots of small feeds (including at night) in the first week or so, then gradually reducing them as the weeks go by. I eke out the last of the milk as small evening feeds for a few extra weeks as mothered lambs still steal a suck if the ewe will stand for it. I believe this also gets more milk into them, little and often, without stretching the stomachs and making them pot bellied so they have better eating patterns as adults, less prone to bloat etc.
I'm not rubbishing creep feed and other methods, just saying what works for me in case someone else finds it useful, I do get top prices when I sell them at mart so it has some validity.... downside is it is labour intensive.
Permaculture and smallholding, perfect partners


  • Joined Sep 2013
Re: Weaning bottle fed lambs
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2013, 11:51:16 pm »
That's brilliant! Thank you! He's spent most of his life indoors, it's only been the past couple of weeks he's spending more time outside. He had a very rough start until it was worked out he couldn't tolerate even the smallest amount of lactose, so water from a bottle became the norm. Oh! I forgot to mention we're in Australia if lambing at this time of year seemed a little unusual! 


  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Weaning bottle fed lambs
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2013, 11:15:57 am »
I forgot to say, don't worry about him drinking water, he will drink when he is thirsty but if he has lush grass there will probably be enough water in it to serve his needs so don't worry if he doesn't drink. Sheep mostly don't bother with water unless they are lactating, or it is very hot, or they are eating hay or concentrates. I have this argument with my hubby all the time because he says 'they don't bother with it, and I say 'I don't care, it should still be available just in case they do want it'.
Permaculture and smallholding, perfect partners


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