Baby lamb feeding schedule
A Comprehensive Guide to Caring For Orphaned Lambs | Animal Liberation Victoria
In Australia, sheep are raised for their meat, milk, wool and skins. In the southern Australian states, farmers practise winter lambing in order to produce the highest number of lambs.
They do so by impregnating their ewes so that they give birth between May and July. The pastures are most fertile in Autumn, while the ewes are pregnant and require richer feed, and in Spring when the lambs are weaned. This means that lambs will grow fatter and more quickly and reduces the need for supplementary feeding.
In most cases sheep and their babies are not provided sufficient shelter from the wind, rain and frost, or protection from predators, resulting in a high mortality rate. Mothers with multiple births suffer from increased stress levels, and can even prolapse, become downed, and die.
It is estimated by the industry that between 10 and 15 million lambs die within the first 48 hours of life in Australia annually. The two main causes of death are hypothermia and starvation.
Lambs weighing under 4kg at birth are much more likely to die, as they do not have the fat or energy reserves required to withstand the harsh wind, rain and frost, as well as to stand and drink from their mothers.
The longer it takes a lamb to stand, the less likely they will receive the critical colostrum they require in order to gain essential fats, energy and immunoglobulins, to fight infections. Weaker lambs (most of them twins or triplets) usually starve or freeze to death.
Less common causes of death are linked to congenital deformities, injury during birth, infection and predation.
Learn more about what happens to sheep in Australia.
Lamb rescue information
We do not suggest rescuing your own lamb and encourage you to contact us if you wish to care for a lamb. The following information is provided for use in an emergency situation.
If you ever come across an individual lamb laying down, separate from the flock, it is likely something is wrong.
Call out to lambs from the fence-line to identify whether they are alert and can get up. If they do not move, it is time to intervene. It may be helpful to have a pair of binoculars and a camera.
If there is a house on the property, speak to the owner about your concerns in a polite manner, suggesting you would be more than happy to take care of any unwanted orphaned lambs.
If the property is unattended, approach the lamb slowly and call out to them. This will ensure you do not startle a potentially unaware lamb.
Do not touch a lamb unless they are completely alone, visibly injured or very weak.
If you are not an experienced carer or rescuer, please phone ALV immediately for advice in a difficult situation. We do not want to remove any lambs from their mothers, only assist and provide care where the lamb would otherwise die and has been orphaned. In addition, the teams at Lamb Care Australia and Victorian Lamb Rescue are able to provide expert advice on the care of newborn lambs. Both groups can be contacted and respond efficiently via their Facebook pages.
After locating a hypothermic or dying lamb
The first thing you should do is get an orphaned lamb dry and warm immediately.
The best way to do this is to dry them off with a towel and to place them in front of a heater (which you can do immediately in your car). Rub the lamb with a blanket or item of clothing to stimulate heat and consciousness. It is important that a lamb is not fed before they are warmed sufficiently (this takes at least 30 minutes), as their body will not be able to digest any fluid. If you suspect the lamb has any injuries or is unresponsive, keep them warm and contact someone who can help. Please see the “further help” section below.
Once you get the lamb home, ensure they are kept warm at all times, and away from drafts. Be careful not to overheat them, normal temperature is 38.5C – 39.5C. A lamb is considered hypothermic when their body temperature drops below 37. 5C.
Colostrum, the first milk mammals produce, is extremely important for the health of their newborns. It provides them with disease-fighting antibodies, as well as essential nutrients. It is critical that lambs receive colostrum in the first 24 hours of life to give them the best chance at survival. Colostrum can still be beneficial up until the lamb reaches 48 hours old, beyond that the window of benefits closes.
There are good commercial brands of colostrum available We recommend using Wombaroo ‘Impact’, which is suitable for most mammals, including lambs. Follow directions on the package as to dilution and quantity.
If the lamb has come into your care and (1) more than 48 hours have passed since they were born and (2) they have not received colostrum, we suggest an injection of a broad spectrum antibiotic like Oxytet and a dose of injectable complex vitamins, which can be done at your local vet. Follow this up with Protexin and Nutrigel over the next few days. This may give them a head start on fighting anything that might be in their system already.
Generally, lambs do not know when to stop drinking and drink too quickly, therefore consuming more than their stomachs can handle. This can cause bloat, scours (diarrhoea) or aspiration (inhaling liquid). These conditions are extremely serious and can kill a lamb very quickly, which is why correct feeding is so important.
While every carer has their preferred formula, we recommend using ‘Profelac Shepherd’. If you don’t have access to Profelac, Divetilact can be used only as a temporary emergency solution (usually available to buy at vet clinics or pet shops), goat’s milk can also be used, which is readily available in the supermarket dairy section. We recommended transitioning to Profelac Shepherd when you can get some, as it is more suitable. Wombaroo is also a good species specific formula that we recommend.
It can be quite difficult to get a lamb to suckle from an artificial teat, especially if they are weak. From experience, the best teats to use are the Prichard or Bainbridge teats (red and yellow valve teats). They allow good airflow while feeding and they screw on to normal plastic water or soft drink bottles. To make sure your lamb isn’t drinking too quickly, have short 5 second breaks.
Generally animals need 10-20% of their body weight in food every 24hrs, in 30-50ml/per kilogram feeding ratios. You can always visit your local vet clinic to get an accurate weight of your animal. It is better to underfeed, than to over feed.
Mix up milk according to manufacturer’s quantities. For at least the first week of life, lambs should be fed milk warmed to body temperature. If you are unsure, colder milk is preferable to overheated milk.
Most sources recommend 3-4 feeds a day, however we have found smaller, more frequent feeds are better for critical newborn lambs, as this is how they feed from their mother. Newborn lambs need to be fed every 2-3 hours for the first two weeks of life (the night feeds can be stretched to 4 or 5 hours) and then every 4 hours for the next few weeks, depending on how well they are doing. Divide up the total recommended milk amount per day and aim to match your feeds to this total.
To begin feeding, first check whether the lamb has a sucking reflex by putting your (washed) finger in their mouth. Their tongue should be warm and they may begin to suck. If their mouth is cold, make sure they are still nice and warm. Feed with care if they are struggling to suck on the teat to avoid complications. Do not attempt to feed if they cannot swallow or are unresponsive. Force feeding could cause liquid to drip down into their lungs. This can cause infection, pneumonia or cause pulmonary aspiration, which can ultimately lead to the lamb dying.
If at any stage liquid does get into the windpipe, the lamb will generally cough or produce a crackling sound when breathing. Gently tap both sides of the ribs repeatedly in order to help remove any fluid from the lungs. If this happens please see the further help section below.
We also suggest adding Protexin into their milk. This may help to enhance their immune and digestive systems, especially after times of stress after antibiotics, during relocation periods or when they first come into care.
Hard food and weaning
Hard food such as grass hay can be introduced as early as two days old, while they will still be too young for this food, they will be curious and start to mouth the food. At around a week or two they should start to eat small quantities of grass hay. Foods like chaff and pellets should be introduced in small amounts only after around 3 weeks of age. Hard food is a necessity as it is very important for rumen development.
While you can technically wean a healthy lamb at 6 weeks of age, we suggest weaning at around 10-12 weeks of age.
Before you start to wean your lamb, they should be at least 3 times their birth weight (no less than 10kg), and be eating and drinking water themselves. At weaning milk should be gradually reduced over a few weeks, and then stopped altogether. A slow weaning is less stressful on the lamb.
Hygiene and sterility
Hygiene is of the utmost importance. After feeding, sterilize all equipment. You can do this by using boiling water or you can use a baby bottle sterilizer if you have access to one. If using the former method, wash thoroughly, then place bottles and teats in a clean pot of boiling water for around 10 minutes. Allow bottles to air upside-down to prevent bacteria building inside.
Check there is no residual milk left on the bottles, teats, or other mixing utensils, also make sure the lamb is cleaned of any spilt milk. Bacteria breeds very quickly in milk and can cause digestive issues.
Place any unused milk in the fridge immediately. Milk must NEVER be left out. If you do accidentally leave your milk out you must throw it out.
Make sure your lamb’s bum and genitals (as well as the rest of their body) are clean and dry. It may be necessary to give them a quick spot wash in some warm, soapy water. Ensure they are properly dried afterward and not left wet or damp.
The use of nappies is a great way to ensure your lambs stay clean (as well as your house). They usually begin in the size up from newborn nappies. Either cut holes and pull tails through, or pull the tail to the side to hang outside the nappy. This ensures their tails do not become soiled. Lambs have a tendency to kick their nappies off, to prevent this you can try cutting up a pair of old stockings and use them as little pants on your lamb to hold their nappy.
Ensure a lamb’s navel is not red or swollen and is kept dry and clean. Lambs are susceptible to infection in the navel, which quickly spreads through their bodies. If it is wet or dirty you can clean the lamb’s navel with some diluted Betadine to kill any bacteria and to aid healing.
Scour and bloat
Scours (diarrhoea) can be caused by contaminated (unhygienic) feeding equipment or be linked to other illness or disease. Try to determine the source of your lamb’s sickness. If you are caring for multiple lambs, isolate the sick lamb from the rest. They will need to have a period of at least 2-3 hours without any liquid, then they will need to be placed on electrolyte bottle feeds for at least the next two feeds.
Alternatively you can alternate electrolyte and milk feeds, making sure not to mix electrolytes and milk together in one feed, or feeds too close together (at least 1 hour apart), as it can delay nutrient absorption and make the sickness worse.
Additionally ensure that electrolytes are not to be used with colostrum, and if being used on their own use for not more than 24 hours otherwise the lambs are not getting sufficient nutrition.
Electrolytes help to fight dehydration (caused by diarrhoea) and help replace lost nutrients. Sachets of Vytrate or Lectade are available from the vet or farm stores and are essential to have on hand. Mix according to the packet instructions and feed at body temperature in the same quantities as milk.
Try to also acquire some scour treatment, such as Scourban, to prevent further dehydration.
To further ensure the health of your lambs and to prevent intestinal upsets, mix in a probiotic such as Protexin (helps maintain gut flora balance). If a lamb is lethargic or unwell, mixing in some Nutrigel will help provide energy to encourage them to suckle, as well as essential nutrients. If scouring doesn’t subside please see the ‘further help’ section below.
Scourban, Protexin and Nutrigel can be found at some feed/pet stores, online or at some vet clinics.
Bloat can be caused by improper feeding techniques such as milk that is given too quickly, in too large a quantity, or that is too hot. This causes a gas producing bacteria that bloats the stomach. Signs of bloat include a distended belly, dullness and loss of appetite. If you think your lamb has bloat, take away all food sources and do not feed milk for 2-3 hours. If they do not recover in this time do not give them any more milk. Bloat is very serious in young lambs and you must act immediately to provide them with veterinary help.
Signs of ill-health
Lambs can get sick very suddenly and if no action is taken, they can die quickly. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Lethargy, loss of appetite
- Quick/Heavy breathing Resting breath should be between 16-34 breaths/minute)
- Grinding of teeth
- Straining to poop
- Laying out on side with legs out
- Kicking legs violently and/or restlessness when trying to settle
- Cold mouth
- Pale gums
- Throwing head back
- Swelling or redness of the navel
- Temperature (normal temp should be between 38.5C – 39.5C in lambs. If their temp is below 37.7C the lamb is classified as hypothermic)
If you notice any of these signs, you should call a vet or an experienced carer immediately (If fostering through ALV, let us know as soon as possible) and seek advice. In the interim, do not continue to feed milk to your lamb.
Vaccines, worming and castration
Just like we do with our domestic household animals, we need to make sure our lambs receive a vaccine, are wormed and castrated.
We suggest “5 in 1” vaccine or getting advice from your local vet as to which vaccine is best for the area you live in. They will need one vaccine at around 6-8 weeks of age, or when the lamb is around 10kg, and a follow up booster around 4 weeks later. Castration should happen around 2 weeks after vaccination. Never have castration performed under anaesthetic as lambs can react badly, light sedation or pain relief only.
We recommend worming happen at the same time as vaccination (roughly 10kg weight), and this will need to be done annually. Commercial wormers are fine to use, we do however suggest rotating the type of wormer you use to avoid any resistance building up.
Castration for males needs to be done as soon as their testicles descend, this is as early as 6 weeks of age. Avoid letting their testicles grow too big as it means it will be a bigger surgery with more risks.
Castration should be performed with anesthetic and pain relief, by a veterinarian.
This document is intended as a guide only. It is based upon extensive hands-on experience of rescuing and raising orphaned lambs. However, it was not written by a veterinarian and should you be concerned at any stage about the health of a lamb, please seek advice from a trusted vet with specialised experience. We also suggest that you contact the teams at Lamb Care Australia and Victorian Lamb Rescue.
How to Bottle Feed a Lamb Successfully
How to bottle feed a lamb is pertinent information. Because you just never know when the situation will arise for needing to take over the care of the bottle baby lamb. Lambs can become sick, unwanted or orphaned.
And, I’m going to share with you what we do when one of our lambs becomes just that and needs us to care for it. Learning how to bottle feed a lamb is one of the most important skills that all successful sheep producers need to know.
First of all, I’m going to explain why this skill of learning how to bottle feed a lamb is so important.
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Why would you need to know how to bottle feed a lamb?
Because it’s one of the most important skills you have to know if you’re going to raise hair sheep. Learning how to bottle feed a lamb is just part of the journey of raising hair sheep. It’s not always roses and butterflies when it comes to homesteading, farming or ranching.
You see, things happen. Again, not every lambing situation will be rosy and rainbows. You can’t always predict that every situation will turn out perfectly.
So, be prepared and keep learning new skills, such as how to bottle feed a lamb. Knowing this skill can really save a lot of little lambs. But, what kind of situations are we looking at? Next are some situations you might face which would lead you to be searching for “how to bottle feed a lamb.”
Why A Lamb Would Need To Be Bottle Fed
There are a few situations where a lamb might need to be bottle fed by you in order for it’s survival:
- Maybe mom just doesn’t want it. She refuses to respond to the bonding process.
- Lamb was really cold after birth and became hypothermic.
- Perhaps she doesn’t have enough milk to feed baby.
- Or there are triplets and she can’t handle them all.
- Worst of all…mom died during labor. It’s hard but baby can be saved.
So, whichever the reason, you end up with a cute fluffy bottle lamb. Now, here’s what you need to be able to feed a bottle lamb.
What Bottle to Use
There are many options, but I’m going to share with you what I use and recommend.
So, my husband drinks a lot of soda pop in those 20 oz bottles. I keep those, wash and sanitize them to use for bottle babies.
Then, I purchase pritchard nipples. When I was first starting out, I found these to be the most recommended nipple to use for bottle baby goats and lambs. Why?
Because, as I have also found, they are the nipple that is most like a teat. I’ve used other nipples (the black ones) that are just too big. They may work for older babies but not for new ones.
Therefore, I’m advising you to start with the red Pritchard Nipples. Tip: Take a razor blade and gently slice open the top of the nipple. Do not cut as the hole will be too big and baby will get too much milk!
Different Options for Milk
Now, the dilemma of what to feed the bottle baby lamb. Decisions, Decisions. There are so many. And everyone will tell you that their way is best. And any other way will kill your lamb. Don’t listen to that.
Here’s the truth: The truth is that there are a few different options that might work for your budget, time and peace of mind. So, here’s the break down of the three main options for what to feed bottle baby lambs.Powdered Milk Replacer
First of all, I will tell you that powdered milk replacer is just fine to use. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t find it in the farm stores.
BUT, with that said, you need to know what to use and what not to use when it comes to powdered milk replacer. The powdered milk replacer needs to be MILK based like this one…not SOY based. That is very important to the success of using a milk replacer.
I’m a soybean farmer and love soy…but it’s not good on new baby lambs or goats’ tummies. So, milk based milk replacer is what you want. I’ve raised many many kids and lambs on a milk based powdered replacer with success.
If you’re completely against the powdered milk, there are other options. May I suggest whole cow’s milk as many others will. Let’s discuss.
Whole Cows or Goats Milk
Ok, so I have bought pasteurized whole milk from the store to feed a bottle baby lamb. And I know many other producers have as well. In fact, if you ask the question in any Facebook Group, whole cow’s milk is the most popular answer you will receive. Why?
Because it’s an easy option to feed bottle baby lambs. Not necessarily the best option. But really, all you do is buy, twist and pour into the bottle. No mixing required here.
And you can also try to get fresh raw milk for lambs. I have some dairy farmer friends who have always fed whole cows milk to their bottle baby lambs. This milk is straight from the cow and raw. Their lambs have done well on that whole cow’s milk.
But the one thing you want to make sure is that your not going to be giving milk infected with certain diseases, such as Johne’s Disease. Many herds have been tested and Johne’s free but you still need to keep that in mind when obtaining milk for the baby.
So, if you have dairy farmer friends nearby or the budget to buy whole cow’s milk – Go for it! Also, goats milk works, of course. Again, do what works best for you.
Finally, there’s a third option.
Homemade Milk Replacer
Finally, we come to the whole milk/buttermilk/etc. option. The gourmet homemade version for only the elitist and most spoiled lambs. And I’ve used it so I can recommend it. Plus, the person who created it is just awesome!
I’ve had this really amazing recipe for bottle babies for years. It is a no-fail. Here it is:
- 1/4 Cup Whipping Cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup non fat dry milk
- 3 Cups Water
Mix in a blender. It makes 30 ounces. If you need a larger batch, double everything EXCEPT whipping cream. Instead, use 1/3 cup whipping cream. Read on for feeding instructions.
To triple this recipe:
- 3 Eggs
- 3 Cups Powdered Milk
- 1/4 Cup Whipping Cream
- And 1/3 Cup Whipping Cream
- 2 Cups Water
Mix in a blender and then add to 7 cups of water. This mixture makes 3/4 of a gallon of milk replacer the lambs will be loving on.
And here’s another homemade recipe that I have tried with success:
– 1 Gallon Whole Milk
– 1 Cup Whole Buttermilk
– 12 oz Can Evaporated Milk
Pour off 2 1/2 cups of the whole milk. Add Buttermilk and Evaporated milk to the whole milk. Mix well. Feeding Instructions are below.
So, there you have it. The three different milk options. But before I move on to feeding instructions, I want to share a little bit of info about grafting a bottle baby.
So, I’ll get back to bottle feeding in just a second. But, I wanted to just mention the possibility of grafting a bottle baby onto a ewe that lost her baby. It’s totally possible in just a day.
By skinning the dead baby and tying it onto the bottle baby, the grafting process will take much less time. I’ve achieved success doing this with goats and I’ve even written about it!
Read how to graft a kid onto a doe using fresh skin and baling twine.
This can totally be achieved with sheep as well – I just have not been given the opportunity yet to try it on the sheep side. But I know of many other producers who have successfully skinned lambs and grafted babies onto moms using the skin.
Ok, so back to bottle feeding. Let’s talk about how much to bottle feed a lamb.
How Much to Feed a Lamb
This is the most important part of this article. Above, I’ve discussed a few options to feed. Any of those are great options but you will not find success in any of them if you don’t feed it correctly.
So, basically the safest bet is to go by the weight of the lamb. The rule of thumb is about 20% of their body weight. If you need a scale to purchase to weigh lambs, here are a few options:
So, with that said, here are some feeding recommendations I use:
- 1-2 day old lambs should receive 4 to 6 ounces 4 times per day.
- 3-7 day old kids: 8-10 ounces 3 times per day.
- 1-2 week old kids: 12-14 ounces 3 times per day.
- 3-6 week old kids: 16-20 ounces 2 times per day.
- 7-8 week old kids: 20 ounces 2 times per day. This is a full bottle.
And at the 8-week mark, the lambs are ready to be weaned. You can gradually begin to cut back on milk as long as the lamb is eating feed and hay and drinking plenty of water.
Finally, allow two weeks of gradual decrease in milk before fully weaned. Slow is better when it comes to weaning a bottle baby. Lambs can be really stubborn, but as long as they can become independent from milk, they will be fine.
So, we’ve discussed what could happen to cause a lamb to become unwanted or orphaned. Things just happen. And what makes it worse is when that lamb will not for whatever reason take a bottle from you.
Stubborn lambs can be difficult to start on a bottle. No matter what age, if the lamb has had mother’s milk, that’s what it will want. Because, I mean, there’s nothing better than mother’s milk, right?
So, you need to be just as stubborn. Because baby has to eat to live.
Therefore, be strict and firm but gentle when encouraging the baby to eat from a bottle:
- Hand Placement: Cup the head with one hand. Be sure fingers are on the throat gently so you can feel if the lamb is swallowing. With the other hand, hold the bottle and gently push the nipple into the lamb’s mouth. Use your fingers to hold it in.
- Let the lamb take breaks every so often. Then, try again.
- Keep trying until the lamb has drank it’s recommended amount of milk. See above recommendations.
Also, when you’re transitioning a lamb onto a bottle, you need to have some probios on hand. Give about 2 CC every 6 hours to keep the tummy bacteria balanced.
Finally, a bottle lamb should be cared for properly. Next is some tips for housing a bottle lamb.
Where Should a Lamb Be Housed?
So, we’ve discussed how to bottle feed a lamb:
- What to feed
- How to feed
- Why to feed
- When to feed
Now, I want to discuss where. What else a lamb may need to be comfortable. If it’s cold out, keep in mind that the lamb will have no one to snuggle with. You really shouldn’t put an orphan lamb into a pen with mothers and babies. Why? Because it could get butted around and hurt. Maybe even killed.
It’s best (in my opinion and experience) to keep orphan babies separated from the rest of the herd. Bottle babies should have a small and draft free place to stay warm and safe.
Also, provide warm and clean bedding for the lambs. The place that is best for you and your lambs. I have a special place in our barn, but in extreme cold conditions it’s not the best locations.
In extreme situations where a lambs is cold, I’ve had babies in the warmest place I know I have: My kitchen. I use a large kennel like this one with bedding to house it for a couple of weeks until I know it can regulate it’s temperature on it’s own.
I’ve also housed lambs in a large kennel in the basement. Another warm place to just protect them from the cold weather that could kill them if they become hypothermic. So, now you can use what you have to find the best housing option for your bottle baby lamb.
Finally, Have Fun With Your Bottle Baby Lambs!
Because they are fun! There’s nothing more bouncy and fluffy than a bottle baby lamb running to it’s bottle.
And the hardest part isn’t how to bottle feed a lamb. The hardest part is getting it started. Or knowing how much to feed it. So, I hope that what I shared with you today will help you learn all there is to learn about how to bottle feed a lamb.
Good luck and enjoy the journey of raising hair sheep! And all that comes with it.
~ Much Love ~
How Often to Bottle Feed a Lamb?
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motherless, at home
- What to feed lambs at home?
- What to feed a newborn lamb?
- What to feed a lamb?
- What to feed lambs without a mother?
- Features of feeding from a week of age
- Nutrition from 2 weeks
- What to feed a month old lamb?
- Two month old lambs
- What should not be fed to lambs?
A healthy sheep or ram can only be raised if the lambs are properly fed. As the young grow, they should receive all the trace elements, vitamins and other substances necessary for development. The article will give recommendations on how to feed lambs of different ages and those that grow up without a mother.
How to feed lambs at home?
Photo of a sheep with a lamb in the pasture
Knowing how to feed lambs at home, you can develop a complete diet and promote the rapid development of individuals, their growth, and increase productivity.
- Milk is the basis of any lamb's nutrition at first. Without it, the animal simply will not survive. In this case, you can replace sheep's milk, the main thing is to provide all the necessary nutrients.
- Succulent feed includes grass, silage, root crops, gourds.
- Roughage (haylage, straw, hay).
It is very important to give small amounts of mineral supplements to lambs. If they are lacking, due to concentrates and vegetables, the nutrients in their body will not be replenished, and the animal will start to get sick.
- Concentrated feed (mixed feed and cereals).
- Minerals and vitamins (premixes, salt, bone meal, chalk).
Every lamb's diet should also contain plenty of clean, fresh water, without which no living creature can survive. Change it 2 times a day or more often, as needed. The main thing is that it should be at room temperature.
What to feed a newborn lamb?
Every 2-3 hours a newborn lamb drinks its mother's milk
About half an hour after birth, healthy lambs are on their feet and looking for their mother's udder. The udder is given only clean, washed.
If the lamb does not have enough mother's milk (it may simply not be enough), you need to feed it separately, otherwise it will grow slowly, get sick, and even death is possible.
Every 2-3 hours a newborn lamb drinks mother's milk, then sleeps. If there is not enough food, this can be understood by behavior. When the lamb restlessly rubs at the mother, sucks her udder continuously, the young are fed.
How to feed a lamb?
Cow's milk is used for feeding
When the mother's milk is low, the lamb does not eat enough, it needs an additional source of nutrition. Cow's milk is used for feeding. But it's not quite the same as sheep's, so supplements such as fish oil and chicken eggs, which are simply added to cow's milk, must be used. The resulting liquid for feeding is heated to 35-39 degrees and only then it is poured into a bottle and given through the nipple to the lambs.
Feeding norms differ depending on the age of the young animals.
- Until the 10th day of life, such top dressing is done 4-5 times a day in the amount of 100 g.
- From the 10th to the 20th day, 200 g of milk should be given 3 times a day.
- From the 20th day they feed no more than 2 times - 300-400 g.
Feeding should be introduced gradually, following the reaction of the young. And you can’t give them for a long time, otherwise it will be difficult for the lamb to switch to normal food.
How to feed motherless lambs?
Photo of motherless lambs feeding
When for some reason a lamb cannot drink its mother's milk after birth (it is not available, the female is dead or sick), a suitable alternative must be found. Experienced breeders always keep another female in the next stall during childbirth, which has milk, in order to transfer the lamb there in time if necessary.
Colostrum is the most important food for a lamb for 48 hours after birth, if it does not get it, it will most likely die. It is colostrum that “turns on” the immunity of young animals, its protective mechanisms and contributes to the activation of organs and systems - their normal operation.
If the female is healthy and alive, but does not want to give the baby colostrum, you need to carefully milk it from her and give the lamb yourself!
When the mother of the lamb has no milk, it is necessary to take substitutes and artificially feed the young. The colostrum needed for a lamb can be bought at another farm - in the first 2 days of the animal's life, you need to give it at least once!
After the first risk is passed - the lamb survived, you need to start feeding it with sheep, cow or goat milk as a last resort. They give milk in a feeding bottle with a nipple, which is sterilized each time, and the liquid itself is heated to 35-40 degrees.
- In the first week, the lamb is fed every 2.5 hours for a total of 6 feedings.
- From the second week, the number of feedings is reduced to 5 times a day.
Sheep's milk is preferred for lambs. You can buy it from another farm or just take it from another female who recently gave birth to a baby.
- Feed 4 times a day for 3-6 weeks.
- From 7 weeks you can transfer the lamb to 3 meals a day.
Milk is stopped at about 2 months if the mother is not present. From this age, the lamb may well get by with simple food, the main thing is that it be of high quality - this will reduce the risk of diseases.
Features of feeding from a week of age
From a week of age, the lamb should be given high-quality hay
From a week of age, in addition to mother's milk and additional feeding with cow's milk (if necessary), the lamb should be given high-quality hay. They give it in the amount that a lamb can eat - that is, without restrictions. It is hay that allows the rumen to develop properly in the stomach of the lamb.
High-quality hay should be fed, because it is not very coarse, healthy and quickly digested.
Mineral food will not interfere with a weekly or maximum from the 10th day of life. This includes chalk, salt, meat and bone meal. They contribute to the proper development of the skeleton, building muscle mass of the animal.
In order for the teeth to develop properly and the stomach to work without failures (diarrhea, constipation are common problems in lambs), you can introduce a little sprigs of willow, aspen, birch into the diet from the 10th day. They are soft, healthy, well absorbed, contain many nutrients.
Feeding from 2 weeks old
Juicy food - a pleasant innovation from 2 weeks old
From the 14th day of life, the animal's diet changes greatly. What to feed 2 week old lambs? Juicy food is a pleasant innovation that needs to be given little by little and very carefully introduced into the diet. Each new type of grass, vegetable is given in small quantities, separately, and the body's reaction to it is traced. This allows you to avoid diseases, unpleasant consequences for the animal.
Juicy lamb food:
- greens - in small quantities;
- carrots, beets - chopped before serving;
- it is better to give potatoes boiled, also crushed;
- dried apples.
To prevent diarrhea in lambs, you can first give them empty oats, without meal.
From 15 days you can gradually start giving concentrates, such as rolled oats and wheat bran. Up to a month, 50 g of such a nutritional supplement is needed per individual. From 2 months, 100 g is given, from 3 to 200 g, and for lambs older than 4 months - 300 g. Rolled oats are served in the form of a liquid porridge.
What to feed a month old lamb?
At one month old lambs are usually given compound feed
At one month old lambs are usually given compound feed. More and more vegetables and root crops are given every day (by 9 g), as well as greens - by this time you need to start teaching lambs to eat fresh grass. The amount of milk received should be less so that the nutrition is balanced, and it is easier for the animal to completely separate from the mother over time.
Be sure to give mineral supplements at this time. If illnesses or minor ailments are noticed, you should contact your veterinarian. If there is no illness, just weakness, he can prescribe some mineral or vitamin premixes.
Usually a lamb is kept with its mother up to 4 months
At 2 months old, lambs already have a developed and well-functioning stomach, so you can gradually transfer them to normal, complete feeding for sheep. And yet, most breeders continue to keep them next to their mother for up to 4 months, because the longer they are with her, the better and faster they develop.
At four months of age, it is recommended that the lambs be completely weaned and held separately for some time. Lambs can be released to one pasture along with the uterus, only after 3 weeks of separation. From this period, the nutrition of young animals is no different from the diet of adult sheep and rams.
What should not be fed to lambs?
Lambs are not an adult sheep or ram, they have a weak stomach, they need constant care, healthy milk, so any products should be introduced into their diet gradually and under supervision. But, in addition, there are a number of products that are prohibited for young animals at any age, even when they begin to switch to full-fledged feeding - at 2-4 months.
- Bulrush, horsetail, sour grasses (rush, sedge) as juicy green fodder will not work!
- Poisonous herbs are inherently dangerous.
- Sugar beet - leads to diabetes.
- Bread, pastries for sheep are prohibited.
Proper lambs diet can produce healthy, young offspring. The main thing is not to forget that up to 2 months, mother's milk is vital for lambs, and if it is not there, then it must be replaced. And only from a week of age, you can begin to introduce simple food for sheep in parallel with milk.
Feeding lambs - norms and diet
The health of the lamb is in the health of the ewe. Therefore, it is necessary to take care that all conditions for normal bearing and the birth of the fetus are created for her.
For this, she is given a separate cage, in which she will stay after lambing with her lamb. The cage should have a thick layer of bedding.
What should be done in the first minutes of a lamb's life?
The muzzle, mouth, and sinuses of a newly born lamb are cleaned of mucus. After that, they leave him with his mother. She will lick him all over. It is believed that this contributes to the stimulation of blood circulation in the baby and the release of the placenta in the uterus.
Healthy lambs are on their feet after half an hour at most two and go to look for the mother's udder. It must be clean and washed.The search for food was crowned with success
A newborn lamb must necessarily feed on the colostrum of the ewe. This contributes to the development of immunity. Colostrum is rich in protein and prevents gastrointestinal diseases. If this did not happen immediately, then experts suggest that you can wait only two days. Then it will be too late, the lamb may die.
If the ewe does not let the lamb or her milk is low, and she is not able to feed all the lambs, then the best option is to send the lamb to another mother.
At first the lambs suck milk every two or three hours and sleep. If they do not have enough food, then they constantly stand near the ewe and suckle. In this case, the lambs need to be fed.
What and how can I feed?Feeding lambs with cow's milkdegrees). Chicken eggs and fish oil are added to it. For feeding use a clean bottle with a nipple put on it.
Feeding rates are shown in Table No. 1.
In addition to cow's milk, high-quality hay is introduced into the diet of lambs in a maximum of ten days in a week. It is given freely. This will help the good development of the rumen in the stomach of the lamb.
In addition, at this time he already needs various mineral supplements. They are needed to strengthen the skeleton, rapid growth and development of the muscular system. As additives use:
- meat and bone meal;
It is very good for the formation of teeth and the gastrointestinal tract to give lambs branch food. This can be done from the 10-15th day of life. Twigs are suitable as such food:
When can I start giving succulent feed and concentrates?
From two weeks of age, lambs can be fed succulent feed. When giving carrots and beets, do not forget to chop them. These root crops help improve digestion. As a vitamin supplement, dried apples and fruits are suitable.
At the age of fifteen days, concentrates can be added to the diet of young sheep. Rolled oats are used as this additive. To avoid diarrhea, it must be given empty (without flour). It is good to add wheat bran to it.
The rate of issuance of the concentrate, depending on the age of the young animals, is presented in table No. 2.
By the age of two months, the stomach of the lambs has formed and developed well and they can be transferred to separate keeping.