Monday, January 24, 2011

Suggestions for saving lambs

These suggestions for saving lambs by Dr. Clive Dalton are equally applicable to kid goats.
  • Try not to disturb ewes near to lambing - they need peace and quiet to find and prepare a birth site and need space for this.
  • When a ewe has lambed, catch her to clear the wax seal from her teats, and give them a good squirt to see all is well.
  • Learn to use a feeding tube correctly so it doesn't go down into the lamb's lungs.
  • Go around the lambed ewes daily to make sure all lambs are actually getting milk, especially multiples. If in doubt, catch any lambs their front legs, check that their tummies are full.  A starved lamb is hollow behind the ribs.
  • Be alert to a triplet that has no chance of getting a feed, and you'll have to feed it or foster it on to another ewe.
  • Milk some colostrum from any ewe that lambs with a large udder and plenty of spare milk. Freeze this in single feed portions in plastic bags for starved lambs.  Warm it to body temperature and don't boil it. 
  • Watch out for ewes that have not lambed but go around and steal lambs from newly-lambed ewes. Separate them into another paddock until they have lambed as they cause a lot of mismothering.
  • Any ewes that abort, collect the fetus and bury it.
Read all thirty suggestions at LifeStyleBlock New Zealand.

Editor's note:  Dr. Clive Dalton has a Ph.D. in sheep breeding.  He is currently an agricultural journalist and technical editor for the website  Be sure to visit his Wool Shed 1 blog for more information about sheep and other interesting topics.


meade_co said...

good comments. If you are barn lambing I would suggest keeping the barn bedded and as dry as you can. Also one thing I heard years ago and has stuck. The barn is for the comfort of the sheep, not the shepherd. Meaning don't get the barn too warm for the sheep so they experience swings in temperature.

Susan Schoenian said...

Good suggestions.