Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Collecting the Lambs

New lambs on the HenSafe smallholding: 3 are 4 days old, the other 2 are a week old. Follow our journey as we raise them to maturity www.smallholdersjournal.blogspot.com

At 6.30pm we collected our 5 lambs. I had forgotten how small they would be! 
They are on 5 x feeds per day with 100-150ml of formula at each feed.
2 x born 1st April, taken from the ewes at 2pm. They were a bit skittish and didn’t drink until the 10pm feed.
3 x born only 3 or 4 days ago on 5th April, bottle fed since they had their colostrum. These would need feeding as soon as we got them home.

Learnings
Make sure the barn area is ready for their arrival and all your equipment is to hand.
When you collect pay close attention to how much the farmer tells you they are drinking.
Be aware that your formula milk may be different - it may take them time to get used to it.
If the lambs start to scour (diarrhoea) ease back on the quantity (ml) of milk and add a little more water to it.
Do not overfeed – they should not look bulbous after a feed or look “tucked up” holding their rear ends underneath.
Overfeeding and milk too hot can cause Bloat (fermentation in the stomach) which is serious and a potential killer.
When the lambs are 7-10 days old reduce the temperature of the milk to a lukewarm/cold.
Their stomachs are small – little and often is the key.
Orphan lambs on a larger scale can be fed with a lamb bar and ad lib cold milk.
You can also ask the farmer to band the tails, scrotum and also tag their ears.
If you have any problems ring the farmer! S/he will be only too pleased to advise.

Getting lambs used to the bottle:

For our 2 older lambs just off the ewe I found it best to squat down and reverse the lamb in against me. Then left hand under his head I can ease my thumb into his mouth and offer the teat. It’s important not to force, they get it eventually, just as my knees are about to give out!

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