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Author Topic: Young lamb drinking water???  (Read 12421 times)


  • Joined Apr 2016
Young lamb drinking water???
« on: April 21, 2016, 11:07:20 am »
I had a lamb delivered by c section on Saturday ( she's now 5 days old), she had a poor start as mum wasn't happy with her going near her udders. I bottle fed originally and ended up having to tube feed as she went downhill.

I got her back to bottle feeding and finally onto mum at 3 days old and she's now suckling happily.

The only thing that concerns me is that since she was 2 days old she's been trying to drink water, I've had to remove the bucket several times to stop her filling up on water and not getting nutrients.

Has anyone else ever experienced this or know why she may be doing it? I put a bowl of lamlac down at two days old but she didn't want that and just loves water. I've put a big bucket in with the three ewes and four lambs and she's trying her best to get to the water.

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm a first time lamber and apart from this everything has gone fairly well :)



  • Joined Mar 2015
Re: Young lamb drinking water???
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2016, 09:22:12 am »
Sorry your first lambing got off to a rocky start and very well done for getting the lamb back onto her mum  :thumbsup:.
I had one this year that seemed determined to drown by getting into the water bucket  :ofrom day 1.  Can you put the bucket up on blocks or somehow out of her reach but accessible for the ewes?  Once she is used to feeding from mum  I doubt she will bother much with the water.
Good luck with the rest of your lambing  :fc:


  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Young lamb drinking water???
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2016, 09:46:12 am »
I let all young animals have free access to clean water from birth.  As long as the lamb does not get into a trough and drown it will not fill up on water instead of milk.  I would expect a 5 day old lamb to be sampling water.


  • Joined Jan 2013
  • banffshire
Re: Young lamb drinking water???
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2016, 10:28:43 am »
My worry here is that removing the water to stop the lamb drinking it is also removing it from the ewe who most definitely needs it.. More so after a ceasarian.


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Young lamb drinking water???
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2016, 10:49:54 am »
The lamb may be sucking the ewe - but does the ewe have milk???? Lambs that young drinking lots of water is usually a sign that they don't get enough milk from their dams... So offering the bottle (if the lamb takes it anyway) would be good to see if it wants more milk. And checking the ewe's udder...


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Young lamb drinking water???
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2016, 11:53:10 am »
What Anke said
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
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Young lamb drinking water???
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2016, 12:13:39 pm »
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better


  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Young lamb drinking water???
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2016, 12:17:52 pm »
Agree :thumbsup:

We use crystalix rectangular buckets when in groups as they are  quite low, then shallow baths.   and paint kettles or similar so they can't fall in when penned up newborn. The beach shop keeps us they're ice cream tubs, they make great water holders. Don't like big buckets with diddy babies. They gotta be able to fall over.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2016, 12:21:23 pm by Hellybee »


  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Young lamb drinking water???
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2016, 01:21:01 pm »
Thank you all for your replies! :)
I've now put a hanging bucket so all ewes can drink but baby can't. I don't mind her having a sip but she will guzzle for a while.

I checked mum for milk and she has some, baby is still suckling from her and not bleating or looking elsewhere for food.

I originally thought it was lack of milk but when she was quite poorly I couldn't get her to take bottle of milk but she was still trying to drink water, that's what puzzled me.

I don't mind her having a sip as it's good she can drink ( I know some sheep are reluctant, especially from bucket) but whenever she sees the bucket she's desperately trying to get a drink.

I haven't let her have water all day yesterday ( all ewes have had access) and she's still active and suckling and not looking for anything else.

I spoke to my vet who said maybe putting electrolytes in it would be a good idea but it's not common that they do it, I couldn't find any information on it at all.

My uncle has been a sheep farmer for 60+ years ( he's 90 odd and still going) and he's never encountered it.

How will I know if ewe just doesn't have enough milk? There's definitely milk coming out but is there a tell tale sign she's not producing enough? Or is it a habit?

When I first got her to suckle mum at three days old, mum had loads of milk and she still wanted water then.

Can I increase milk production by feeding more? Or am I worrying about nothing and should let her be with access to water?

Thanks again :)


  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Young lamb drinking water???
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2016, 01:40:37 pm »
What does baby do when she gets up, a contented fed lamb will get up and do a big lovely stretch, is her fold down the front of her neck starting to fill out? 


  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Young lamb drinking water???
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2016, 02:03:37 pm »
Hi. Yes lamb is doing a nice stretch when woken up, her belly feels nice and she's definitely putting on weight. Do you think supplementing with a bottle is a good idea just incase? I don't want her to expect it from me and not bother with mum though :(

The other thing is mum had a c section because she had ringwomb and it was a big lamb. The vet only had a quick feel and said she tore a bit, she's had five days of pen and strep and I think she's still discharging fresh blood? Is this normal? Will that affect ewes milk production if she's losing some blood? It's not a lot as you can't see it on the straw only on her back end and sometimes the lamb has a drop on her

Sorry for so many questions, there's an awful lot to learn!


  • Joined Aug 2011
  • Nottinghamshire
Re: Young lamb drinking water???
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2016, 07:27:47 am »
When I Lambeg indoors use to use plasterers mixing bucket, fairly narrow but very tall and firm.  Hold lots of water great height for ewe but too high for lamb.


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