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Newbie Sheep owner . . . NEED ADVICE!!!!!!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

We got two bottle sheep almost a week ago, and we've never had sheep before. Their names are Pomp and Stan. They've been doing great on the bottle and are very healthy! We have goats, a pig, dogs and cats, so I know how to take care of them. The only thing I don't know, is, #1: How to wean them and what to wean them with, and #2, do you feed them anything before weaning??  My mom thought that you have to feed them solid baby lamb food along with the milk. But I'm not sure. :hu  I would LOVE to have this cleared up so that I know exactly what to do with my new lambs!!!

 

Thank you in advance!!!!!!!

post #2 of 3

First of all, have they been vaccinated for entero?  If not, get a vial of CD/T from the feed store or livestock supply and administer it.  CD/T is for clostidium perfingens (entero) and tetanus. Secondly, you should start offering them hay and some grain, like a calf starter, soon.  You can't just take them off milk one day and start offering them solid feed the next. My experience is with goats, not sheep, but in this case I don't think it matters. You can wean them when they are eating hay and grain well.  I weaned my kids at eight weeks, but you can keep the lambs on milk longer than that if you want. To wean, you can either go cold turkey and just quit feeding milk or you can do it more gradually and cut down on the number of bottles and maybe the amount of milk fed at each feeding.

The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
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The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
Reply
post #3 of 3

Sheep begin to graze at an early age, so it's a good idea to have some kind of good quality forage in front of them 24/7 from the time they are 2 weeks old along with fresh clean water.  High quality alfalfa hay is a good choice - it's economical, nutritious, and very palatable.  You can introduce small amounts of feed around the same time if you choose to do so.  Be sure that the feed is labeled safe for sheep.  Sheep are very, very sensitive to copper and must have a feed that is formulated to be very low in copper, otherwise toxicity could occur and you will have a dead sheep.  We wean our bottle babies at 12 weeks old, and they quit cold turkey just like all their pasture-raised siblings.  They make their own living for the most part at that age and weaning is more about missing mother's company than anything else.  As @cassie mentioned, CD/T vaccine would be a good idea when your lambs are 10 to 12 weeks old, and then booster with a second shot according to the label directions.  After that, a yearly booster will keep them good to go as far as "overeating" and tetanus are concerned.  We used Essential 3 + T in our flock this year because it is a 2cc shot, which can be intramuscular or subcutaneous, booster with another 2cc shot at 3 to 4 weeks, and then 2cc annually.  You may want to vaccinate for CL if they will be co-mingled with goats, but that's your call.  I don't think I would worry about vaccinating for soremouth unless you know that they have been or will be exposed. 

What breed of sheep did you get?

Commercial Dorper and White Dorper Cross Hair Sheep

&

Mottled Cochin & Frizzled Cochin Bantam Chickens in Black, Blue, and Splash

 

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Commercial Dorper and White Dorper Cross Hair Sheep

&

Mottled Cochin & Frizzled Cochin Bantam Chickens in Black, Blue, and Splash

 

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