Lamb has stopped sucking suddenly?

My 4 week old pet lamb has stopped sucking the bottle suddenly, but doesn't appear ILL he bounds up to me wagging his tail but won't suck and when you put the teat in his mouth he does everything he can to push it out, what's wrong? How do I stop him from starving?

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First of all, the fact that your lamb is not showing any signs of illness is a good thing. As long as there is no signs of bloat or scours, then we have to look at why your lamb has stopped suckling.

First off, does he have orf or scabby mouth? If he does, this may be the reason. Orf is a viral infection that is very common and can cause the lambs to stop suckling for a while because the sores around the mouth hurt when they suckle.

Luckily this is only temporary and within a couple of days the scabs will fall off and your lamb will be back to normal.

If he doesn't have orf then we need to look further into why he has stopped suckling. Try and get hold of a multi-vitamin called "Lamb Revivit". I swear by this stuff. Any time I have a lamb looking poorly, 1 ml of this usually puts them right.

Also make sure that your lamb doesn't have the beginnings of pneumonia, a common illness in poddy lambs. If you find him coughing, or has a rough chest, give him 1 drop of essential oil of wild oregano in 1 or 2 drops of olive oil. Administer daily until the chest is clear. A few days is all you should need.

Also lambs get older they will want to eat more grass and drink water, rather than milk. Some lambs can be weaned at 4 weeks, while others can take as long as 6 months. However, I still think that despite all of this, you need to see if you can encourage him to drink.

Try offering the milk in a bowl or a small pot. I have a premature lamb at the moment that is suckling from the ewe, but because he didn't suckle enough when he was born, her milk adjusted accordingly. As a result I supplement feed, and he will only drink out of a bowl! However, sometimes he hoovers up what I offer him, and other times he won't touch it.

Ideally your lamb should be drinking about 250 ml of milk, 3 times a day at his age. If you are trying to feed him more than this, then this could also be an issue.

If your lamb is healthy, has access to good pasture and water, I wouldn't worry about it too much. But the situation does need to be monitored closely. Going off his milk could be an indication of something more serious. So watch him closely for any other changes.

Regards
Kathryn

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