Continued feeding of rejected lamb

Continued feeding of rejected lamb

by Sue
(ST. Croix, VI)

I've been feeding a lamb rejected by it's mother for 3 weeks. The university extention program called me to foster after it forced the mother to nurse. The lamb got that initial colostrum and has been on store-bought lamb replacement.

Problem: The ext. center provided me with some replacement, but I need more and no feed shoppe carries it.

Is the lamb old enough to be raised on pasteurized cow's milk?

Note: lamb had several normal movements in the first two days into adoption - rice shaped and very sticky.

Since then he has had diarrhea. I have watered down the formula; giving him 2.5 x as much water to .5 the formula. He drinks about 1.5 L per day to 1 cup formula.

Suggestions? PS he's growing, active, and always hungry.


The main problem with raising orphan lambs is that they are very susceptible to scours, or diarrhea.

You cannot use cow's milk to feed orphan lambs. It is just doesn't suit their systems. If you have access to goats milk, you can rear orphan lambs successfully.

If not, you will need to get a milk replacer and he should be having 700ml feeds 3 times a day until he is 4 weeks old, and then, as he matures you need to cut back so that hem only has 500ml twice day. Overfeeding lambs milk leads to scours.

If your lamb is 3 weeks old now he should have access to water, hay and grass.

Let us know how you get on!

Countryfarm Lifestyles

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Jul 07, 2014
Twin Lamb Rejected after 1 Week
by: Carmel

Thanks for the info. Our ewe we think is beginning to reject one of her twins after almost a week. Don't know why. I presume he's had his fair share of colostrum in his first few days and yesterday we held down the ewe and put him onto her teat and he drank and drank.

She is still moving away from him today, not so aggressive with him but not letting him near her like his little sister. They are Suffolk.

I wonder if I do need to start feeding today, whether I go straight onto a sheep mix or goats milk? Can he go without the colostrum formula by now? Why would she reject him after a week?

First of all Carmel, I am wondering how many sheep you have and whether you are sure that this lamb belongs to this ewe.

Sometimes ewes pinch other sheep's lambs and then lose interest or the lambs wonder off and come looking for their mums and mistake her for another ewe that will not be interested in feeding them.

On the other hand, if this is definitely the right mum with the right lambs, some ewes just don't make good mothers of multiple birthings. It is not uncommon for ewes to reject a twin or triplet etc.

It is worth perservering and try and get her to accept the lamb, and carry on doing what you have been doing in getting her on her back and getting the lamb to latch on. The more times you do that, the more chance you have of a better bonding, and at least you know that your lamb is getting fed.

You really need to make sure that your lamb is getting enough to drink. Watch him carefully. If he is standing with a haunched back, this is a sign that he is not getting enough to drink. So you will have to work hard with this lamb.

If you find that the ewe is aggressive with the lamb and is butting him out of the way, then rather remove him and bottle feed him.

Either way, he has had a good innings with the colostrum, so he will be fine if you want to bottle feed him on sheep milk replacement.

It just isn't the ideal solution, and so getting the ewe to bond, would be my first point of action. However, if not, bottle feeding will be the way you will have to go.

Wishing you all the best!


Mar 19, 2013
Replacement Formula for Bummer Lambs
by: Jessica

I have been using the pasteurized milk recipe for 5 weeks now on 5 bummers and they are thriving on it.

I did have to drop the egg out of the formula because it seemed to give them to scour them.

When they had scours I gave them 2 tsp. slippery elm powder, 1 large pinch of cinnamon and 1 regular pinch of cloves in their bottles.

It stopped the scours and they've never returned.



So glad that you have had success using this recipe and thank you for sharing your experience.

Countryfarm Lifestyles

Mar 29, 2012
Bottle feeding lambs
by: Sue

At the same time I was researching homemade lamb replacement and found this site, I found another with this recipe:

2 quart pasturized cow milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg

This had rave reviews with several people commenting that it solved diarrhea issues. Since I am in a pinch (and had no access goats milk), I tried it. Lamb loves it. I'll keep you posted as to his progress.

BTW, he has access to plenty guinea grass that will be his sole source of nourishment when he's weaned.


Please let us know how your lamb gets on as I know many people would be interested, and many thanks for the recipe.

We are still skeptics, but keep us posted.

Countryfarm Lifestyles

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