First Lambing Question

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10 years 7 months ago #36088 by Cavegirl
Hi - this is my first experience at lambing, and very unprepared as I didn't realise our ewe was pregnant. Anyway, arrived home this afternoon to find a very small weak lamb which the ewe kept bunting away and she kept turning around so the lamb couldn't get to the teat. I decided after a while of watching that the lamb was getting weaker and that I needed to take her in to get warm and give some hand-fed milk. Which I did & the lamb is sleeping inside tonight (we don't have a pen or barn etc). So my concern now is, when can I put her back out to live in the paddock? I realise I'm most likely going to have to hand-feed her until she's fully eating grass (6 weeks?) but surely she can live in the paddock like a normal lamb as well?
Please can someone offer some advice? I don't really want a lamb living in the house for the next six weeks.
Thanks. :confused:

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10 years 7 months ago #471767 by muri
Replied by muri on topic First Lambing Question
Cavegirl you have done well for someone without experience.
Depending on the weather and how warm and how sheltered your paddocks are, the lamb can go back out into the paddock with the rest of the sheep after she has had a good feed of milk as you appear to have given her.
Also if she seems strong and is running around rather than quiet and not very active
.Uusally the first three days are criticial in a lambs life, so you need to assess how she is doing.
What sort of milk are you giving her as if you werent expecting lambs I assume you didnt have any lambs milk?
Probably the mothers werent vaccinated if they werent expecting her to be pregnant and there are no lamb vaccinations available this year so make sure you iodine the naval to reduce infection

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10 years 7 months ago #471771 by Cavegirl
Replied by Cavegirl on topic First Lambing Question
We have some friends who had some AnLamb (I think it's called) so we've borrowed that for now. We didnt have any collostrum, so not sure if I should pop down to RD1 tonight and grab some of that or am i too late?
The lamb is still pretty wobbly and weak - she pretty much has enough energy for drinking, and then standing for a couple of minutes to pee and then she's tired out. So maybe she might need to stay inside until she's strong enough to be having a good walk around between feeds do you think?
I didnt know about the iodine thing - thanks for mentioning that. I'll see if I can get that tonight too.
Thanks for the helpful advice.
:)

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10 years 7 months ago #471778 by bevhawkins
Replied by bevhawkins on topic First Lambing Question
Too late for colostrum now, iodine the navel and ring the tail.if it is a boy you will have to decide if you want him entire or not then you will have to ring that too :)

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10 years 7 months ago #471779 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic First Lambing Question
Where are you?
If the lamb that you have found is small, then look for 2 more. If you cannot find them you should do an internal examination. For that you will need long plastic disposable gloves, lambing lube, antibiotics and a syringe to administer it, and assistance to hold the ewe in a standing position, bum up, while you get into the cervix through the hole the size of your finger.
If when you put your hand in you get a rotten smell, stop, and kill the ewe immediately. She will not recover, so take a very sharp killing knife with you too.

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10 years 7 months ago #471782 by Cavegirl
Replied by Cavegirl on topic First Lambing Question
Thanks Longridge - there was a twin, but it was dead already so this probably explains why the one we have is so small.

The mum seems healthy enough, but is still calling for her baby.

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10 years 7 months ago #471783 by Cavegirl
Replied by Cavegirl on topic First Lambing Question
We're in Auckland - so not too cold here

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10 years 7 months ago #471788 by kindajojo
Replied by kindajojo on topic First Lambing Question
If she is still calling for her baby put the lamb back with her and you can try putting lavender oil (or something equally perfumey) on her nose and the lambs tail, that will mask any smell you have on lamb and she may accept it.
Can you tie her up, I have found a dog collar on the ewe and tie it very short to a fence then use you weight to hold her body against the fence and aim the lamb at the teat. Is worth persisting if you dont want to be raising a lamb for the next 3 months.

I often wonder if pffing around and watching if a new lamb feeds is itself the problem, a few of my more nervous ewes would not stand and feed a lamb if I am watching even from 20 + meters, they will stand, pee, watch me baa and circle and bunt away any lambs trying to feed, where as if left unattended they are calmer and in time the sort it out.

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10 years 7 months ago #471791 by Cavegirl
Replied by Cavegirl on topic First Lambing Question
Thanks kindajojo. I'm not sure I'll be able to catch the ewe, but will give it a try.
Next time I'll try leaving them alone to try and let nature take its course more. (still learning).
Thanks for the comments.

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10 years 7 months ago #471792 by hilldweller
Replied by hilldweller on topic First Lambing Question
Bottle feeding would more likely be for 12 weeks than 6. If that's too much, given you weren't expecting this, you might want to consider rehoming the lamb.

FWIW I agree with KJJ re generally leaving them alone. Having said that, without seeing the situation first hand it's impossible to know whether this is likely to have been one of those situations which would have resolved itself. The fact the twin was dead suggests possibly not, perhaps. The good thing is that the lamb is being looked after.

Do you have any other ewes who may be in lamb?

hilldweller

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10 years 7 months ago #471796 by Cavegirl
Replied by Cavegirl on topic First Lambing Question
We have one other that may be in lamb possibly. I guess we'll take a different approach with that one & see how we go. Bottle feeding this one is going to be ok, so we'll perservere. Thanks

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10 years 7 months ago #471798 by muri
Replied by muri on topic First Lambing Question
Cavegirl, I think you did the right thing in bringing the lamb in, if the mother was pushing it away and it was weak then it would not have survived with its mother.
When I had a weak and wobbly lamb the vet suggested dextrose, a tablespoon in the milk and she got her energy up.
If she is still wobbly now i would say she wouldnt do too well out in the paddock at the moment
The fact that the mother is calling doesnt mean she will accept the lamb either.
I had a ewe that lambed and didnt let the lamb near the teat, she kept turning around so the lamb couldnt get to her. But the lamb was strong and persistent and waited till mum was eating and sneaked onto the teat that way and it did work.
But a lamb not strong enough, as your lamb sounds, probably would have died of starvation last night had you not brought it in

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10 years 7 months ago #471802 by Cavegirl
Replied by Cavegirl on topic First Lambing Question
Thanks muri - I think we did keep her alive last night. We only have 3 (hahaha) sheep so to lose a lamb is quite upsetting (especially for the children) and especially since this is our first time. For us it was too much of a risk to leave her last night.
I guess we'll keep learning as we go, and we'll try to get her back out in the paddock as soon as she's strong enough.
Thanks everyone for your help - you've all been great!

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10 years 7 months ago #471820 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic First Lambing Question
We had a ewe give birth to a weak lamb in the only snowstorm we have had, a couple of years ago. The lamb came inside in a cage (lined with paper) just inside the picture window, and the ewe spent the night on the verandah.
We have saved many lambs because of the pfaffing around checking they were fed .... and lost some by not checking. This is an absolutely essential job, and not fair on the lamb/s if you don't do it. Also it's illegal, in that you have not provided sufficient care for the animal that you are responsible for.

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10 years 7 months ago #471829 by hilldweller
Replied by hilldweller on topic First Lambing Question

Cavegirl;474503 wrote: We have one other that may be in lamb possibly. I guess we'll take a different approach with that one & see how we go. Bottle feeding this one is going to be ok, so we'll perservere. Thanks

That's great. Best of luck with the others, if any. All going well you won't have to do anything at all!

hilldweller

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