Have a lamb and a lot of questions! *UPDATE!*


8 Years
Jun 4, 2011
Central Ohio
I was on here last year, and planned to get a few sheep. That didn't materialize, but I got a call from the livestock auction that they had a lamb they couldnt sell, so could I come get it? (they have my info to come get downed animals for my dogs) I knew when I saw him he was not bound to be dog food. So, I am now the proud owner of Leg 'O the lamb.
I have no idea what kind of sheep he is. He is a wool sheep, and he is white with reddish-chocolate mottled face and legs. He is currently about beagle size, and adorable.
He was sickly, and I have wormed him (safeguard)and a vet tech who raises sheep looked at him and thought he had a selenium deficiency, so we gave Bo-Se and lamb drench. He's looking better, but not entirely well yet. He's still a bit stumbly. She thought he was only a few weeks old. I offered him goat's milk, and the first day he took about a cup. The next day a little less, and day three he didn't want any. I have had him for 8 days now, so no milk for the last five. Now I'm reading that this is too young to wean. Should I try to get him back on milk? I got him some creep feed and he is mowing the grass enthusiastically. I have him in a pen that I move every day (a sheep tractor, LOL!) until he and the dogs get used to each other and then he will be in the yard. Any thoughts on things I should do differently? Does he need minerals yet? Oh - how do I trim hooves?
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If he is only a few weeks old it is for sure to young to wean and honestly this might be causing all this lambs problems. I would get a nipple feeder and try that and push it use your fingers and slip the nipple into the mouth of the lamb..... the milk of the mother is very important for the lamb and they wean themselves off as they are older from mom to grass/water. Hope that helps! I had sheep/lambs when I was younger I can't give advice on triming nails as it was my father who did it! But our lambs and sheep were together for months before they stopped drinking...

Here I found this:

What do I do with orphans (bummers)?

Lambs without mothers, or whose mothers don't have enough milk for
them, can be raised on milk-replacer. For the first twelve hours,
the lambs should have only colostrum. Then, one option is to put
them in a pen with free-choice cold milk-replacer from a bucket
with nipples. The other choice is to feed warm milk-replacer from
a bottle, which will allow the lamb to stay with its mother, who
may have some milk. The lamb will probably learn to sneak milk
from other mothers too. For the first few days, the lamb
shouldn't get more than four ounces per feeding, six times a day.
You can then gradually increase the amount and decrease the number
of feedings per day. After two weeks, two or three bottles a day
is plenty. Baby bottles work best for little lambs. Later, beer
or soda bottles with lamb nipples are fine. More than 12-16
ounces in a feeding is likely to induce scours. Unless you like
chasing lambs all hours of the night with a bottle, encourage
bottle babies to eat grain and leafy alfalfa in the creep as young
as possible, so you can wean them early.

Some lambs need a little help but not a complete bottle regimen.
The runt of triplets, or even of twins, may need a bottle or two a
day to keep up. You can usually see when one lamb isn't getting a
fair share; hungry lambs are often hunched up, they cry; if
they're really hungry, their mouths will be cold. Sometimes a
bottle or two will get them going again, or they may need a bottle
or two a day.
You can try putting just a little bit of light corn syrup or honey in his milk until he really gets going on the bottle again, then you can decrease it until he is on just the milk. That is what we do with our bums. The bit of sweetness makes it taste good, so that helps get them past any difference in taste, and the sugar gives a good quick boost of energy to help pull the weaker ones back from the brink. I would give him a dose of the Ivomec sheep dewormer once the Safeguard is out of his system. We have used the Cydectin drench for lambs without any problems, but the Ivomec has been tested safe in sheep of all ages where Cydectin has not. Cydectin kills 13 parasites and Ivomec kills 14. Safeguard is not labeled for sheep and in our experience it does not kill the Barberpole worm, even though the label says it will kill them in goats, we had pretty poor luck with it in the sheep.

The speckled face and legs make him sound like a Suffolk or Hampshire cross to me.

I sure hope he comes around for you. Wishing you luck!
I will try the milk again, but he really seems to want nothing to do with it. I haven't tried a nipple though.
I gave him a dose of ivomec yesterday and some more lamb nutri drench.
This afternoon he looked awful. I wasn't sure he would make it. He was falling over and had a heck of a time righting himself. Looked almost like he was having neurological issues. He seemed painful. He had eaten all his creep and drank some water during the day though. I gave him another BoSe injection, some more creep feed and more nutirdrench. Two hours later he was up and followed me from the pen to the barn and seemed to be feeling much better.
I'm a bit baffled.

When he has eaten a fair bit, he seems rather fat and belchy. Is that normal?
We always feed with a nipple and bottle, or if we have very many to feed at once we have a nipple bucket. We tried feeding milk out of a bowl once just as a little experiment and only one of the four lambs we tried actually figured it out, so we tossed that idea. They don't catch on to drinking out of a pan or bowl like little pigs do. We just use the pop bottle lamb nipples, which can be picked up at just about any livestock supply store like Tractor Supply. Another thing to check is the temperature of the milk. In our experience, a lamb that is feeling poorly doesn't seem to like cool or cold milk. I'm not sure why, but once the milk cools down they just quit eating. You can test the temperature on your wrist just like you would a baby's bottle.

As far as the belching, bloat is common with ruminant animals that are consuming larger amounts of grain than they are accustomed to and in ruminants that are not getting enough roughage. You may consider cutting back on the grain a bit and offering a good grass hay free choice. I don't know if you already know this or not, but sheep have a very low tolerance for copper. University studies have confirmed that copper toxicity can start in some sheep at consuming only 30 ppm copper. Most feeds labeled for horses and cattle are much too high in copper for a sheep to consume safely. You want your feed label to read 5 ppm copper minimum and no more than 30 ppm maximum, if your's is higher in copper stop feeding it to him immediately.

Here is a really, really good website for sheep information: http://www.sheep101.info/
There is a list of diseases and health conditions under the Sheep 201 tab.
I am giving him creep feed that is for lambs. The same stuff a vet tech who raises sheep uses, she sent me to her supplier and even called him to be sure I got the right stuff. The belching was also happening before I gave him grain, when he was just mowing the lawn.
How is he looking this morning?

You are lucky to have a vet that knows sheep. We don't have a vet in our area that will even see sheep.

Bloat can happen on grass. I think the likely scenario for your lamb is that he was not feeling well and stopped eating and when you got him home and he perked up a bit, started eating again, and the green just shocked his system a bit. Sometimes lush and juicy green grass is too wet to contain the necessary roughage that ruminants need to keep their rumen turning and bloat occurs. Offering dry grass hay will provide the lamb with the roughage he needs to help keep the bloat down. You can try just leaving a flake of hay out for him while he is turned out. If he ignores it and stays bloaty then you will need to pen him up away from the grass with free choice grass hay - let him fill up on the hay in the morning, then turn him back out on grass in the afternoon, and then pen him back up with the hay in the evening. If he has a belly full of dry forage when you let him out on the grass, then it will be very difficult for him to bloat, and over time you will be able to leave him out on grass for longer periods of time until eventually he is out all the time. Even if he just has a minor bloat, it is very important to get it under control because it can escalate quickly and bloat is a common cause of sudden death in ruminant livestock.
No, this is way beyond bloat, and if this were bloat, he should be dead by now. He's been sick off and on for over a week now. He's getting worse, but it seems to come and go. But his bad spells are worse than before. Now, he will be laying on his side and struggle to right himself, and often cannot. Then when he gets up, he may thrash, or take a few steps and kneel down into the grass. As he lays down, he will thrash a couple times, throw his head back. It looks almost seizure like, but not quite. Oddly, even when he is stuck on his side, he will eat. He will also go to his food dish. He wants to live.
A friend who knows a little about sheep came over and said it looks like a bad case of white muscle, and from my research I think that may be the case. I'm not sure how much selenium and Vit E to give him though.
You said you already gave him some Bo-Se. The label says 1 cc per 40 lbs. in lambs 2 weeks old and older. You may want to call the vet and make sure of how often you can give it to avoid poisoning. The vet can also recommend how much vitamin E based on his weight.
I did find that to treat a serious deficiency you can repeat it once. I also finally got a hold of a sheep breeder I know and she suggested calcium deficiency due to his refusal of milk. I'm going to try tube feeding him to see if that helps. He was still bad this morning, but he is still fighting. As long as he is trying, I'm not giving up either.

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