Twin Lamb Rejected by Mother

by Caroline

First of all. Your website is excellent - thank you.

Just over two weeks ago, we had twin lambs born. Both good healthy lambs. Mother would only feed one of them and tried to kill the other hitting her with her head whenever she came to suckle.

We took her into the farmhouse and made up a lamb area in the laundry. We put her mother and sister into a small paddock and stable area. We took the reject lamb (Lucy) out every 3 hours and cornered her mother and fed her on her mother.

We did this for 10 days. Her mother doesn't have much milk for two, so after 8 days we supplemented a couple of feeds with powdered lamb/goats milk in a baby's bottle which Lucy loves.

Now 12 days later Lucy is totally bottle fed and we put her out during the day in a paddock near the house with some other Mothers and Lambs whom she plays with and we bottle feed her in the paddock during the day and bring her back into the laundry at night.

She has been scouring (green grass colour) we are feeding her four bottles a day around 200mls per bottle at four hourly feeds. She always runs to us and greedily sucks the bottle until empty.

Are we giving her enough or too much? Also, please she is now just over two weeks, how should we continue with the amount of bottled powdered lambs/goats milk?

From Caroline

Caroline, from what you have told me, you are feeding your lamb the right quantity of milk replacer. I also take it that you are being very careful with the hygiene side of things and keeping the teats clean.

If you were overfeeding your lamb, then the scours would be white, not green.

Green scours in a lamb as young as yours, that has also been given access to open pasture more than likely means that your lamb has either picked up worms from the paddock, or the pasture is very lush.

Young lambs normally love eating all that lovely grass, but if the pasture is lush it will have a high water content. As a result, scours will happen as there is more water than dry matter in the diet.

If it is just the rich grass, she could be right in a day or two. However, I would de-worm her any way, just to be on the safe side if you haven't de-wormed her already.

Coccidiosis shouldn't be a concern at the moment as it usually affects lambs from 1-4 months of age. The first signs would be the scours turning a soupy green or reddish color.

Any scours will encourage flystrike, so make sure that her backend is kept clean.

There is more info here on feeding programs and further treatment if the scours doesn't clear up:

Scouring in small lambs

Let us know how you get on with Lucy.

Countryfarm Lifestyles

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Oct 23, 2013
Cows Milk for Lambs
by: Tony Orford


I have always adopted the same hygiene process for lambs as for babies. I sterilize everything, every time I feed the lambs.

If I can suggest take the lamb off goats milk and just use powered cows milk the best you can get.( follow direction on pack as for babies )

Also not too much green pick just yet, give straw so they can learn to digest solids slower, more fibre less water.

All the best


Good points, Tony, and agree with all, especially making sure that the teats and bottles have been sterilized. Not doing this is one of the main reason for scours in lambs, along with overfeeding. However, I am going to have to disagree with you on the bit about the cows' milk.

As I have said before, cows' milk is for calves, sheep's milk is for lambs. The only milk replacer one should be giving lambs, is one that has been developed especially for lambs. What the previous writer was referring to, it a milk replacer that is marketed as a substitute feed for both lambs and kids.

I am not saying you can't raise lambs on cows' milk, you can, and no doubt you are talking from your own experience, but you may have found that they do not grow as quickly, or as well. This is because cows' milk doesn't have as much protein, minerals or fats as sheep's milk. Sheep's milk is very rich.

If you have no choice, but to give cows' milk then you have to add to it to get it to as close a match as possible. To do this take 14 oz (400 ml) cows' milk and add 1 1/2 tablespoons (25 g) of powdered full cream milk to the milk.

You can also use straight full cream powdered milk at a ratio of 1:4. One part powdered milk, 4 parts water.

However, having said all of that, lambs milk replacer is best.


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