When should I decrease feeding intervals for 2 week old scouring lambs?

by EV
(Melbourne Australia)

I have twin lambs who are now 2 weeks old. They were saved from the meat factory and have had severe scours since the day I got them which was at 5 days old.

I have been feeding them Diarrest as their main feed (250ml each, 4 times a day).

They have recently started on Scourban and antibiotics as prescribed by the vet.

I sub cut Hartmanns fluids and give them yakult daily. They still have the runs (and horrible small scabs on their face?) but are much brighter and eating very well.

I have not started solids as I feel this would hurt their delicate tummies at this stage.

I am wondering if I could now start feeding them 333mls or more each, 3 times a day? What do you think? Thanks

I am concerned that your lambs still have scours as from what they are on, it should have cleared up by now.

Scourban is very effective and usually you don't need to administer it more than twice before the diarrhea clears up.

Diarrest is also just another treatment for scours and although it has electrolytes and glucose in it, most of it is starch and rice flour. There is some Diarrest that shouldn't be given for more than a 24 hour period, so make sure that you are not using that one.

If your lambs have been on Diarrest for any length of time and without a milk replacer they are not getting the nutritional value they need.

I would stop with everything except the antibiotics.

* Check your teats and bottles and make sure that they are absolutely spotless. Sometimes milk can get trapped in the top of the teat and at the back of the ring at the screw top part. Sterilize in a diluted solution of household bleach.

* Make sure that when you are giving the lambs their milk replacer or Diarrest that the feed is neither too hot or too cold. Both extremes can cause diarrhea. Any feed should be warmed to blood heat.

* The lambs should have free access to clean water.

* Overfeeding will result in scours.

For the next 24 hours, over 6 feeds, give them nothing else except honey, salt and water and no more than 250ml at a time.

Mix the following in a liter of water:

1/2 teaspoonful of salt
4 tablespoonfuls honey

Make sure that the honey is Manuka honey with at least a +5.

After 24 hours give them a small feed of Diarrest but add some milk replacer to the Diarrest. Increase the milk replacer until you are feeding them nothing else except milk replacer.

The following are suggested feeding volumes for lambs with scours:

At 1-2 weeks old they should be having 6-8 ounces (175 - 240 ml) of milk replacer 6 times a day.

At 3-4 weeks old they should be having 8-10 ounces (240 - 300 ml) of milk replacer 4 times a day.

At 4-6 weeks old they should be having 12 - 16 ounces (355 - 475 ml) of milk replacer 3-4 times a day depending on weight of lamb.

Continue with the yakult as this is very good for them, just make sure that you are not giving them too much, though. Also add 1 tablespoon of yogurt to their milk replacer per feed.

You may also try giving them a handful of dry bran between feeds. They are more than ready for grass or barley straw and this will do them more good than harm, so don't hold back on this.

If they get scours again, give them a dose or two of Scoursban and reduce the amount of feed and take it back to feeding them less but often - 6 feeds a day if you have to, until the scours clears up.

It is far better to underfeed a lamb than overfeed it. Overfeeding in one sitting will always lead to scours.

With regards to the scabs it sounds like milk sores. Lambs get these when they get milk on their mouth when attacking the teat. However, with your lot it could have come from the yakult.

Treat with a mild solution of Jeyes Fluid and water. Just dab on with cotton wool. You can purchase Jeyes Fluid online.

Let us know how you get on.


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