Sheep people I need advice

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by JJSmith, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. JJSmith

    JJSmith In the Brooder

    Sep 12, 2007
    I have a 2 year old ewe that just had twins today, she has decided the ewe lamb is not hers, the ram lamb she is mothering just fine but the ewe lamb she won't let drink and bunts her away. Any advice on how I could get her to mother up to both?? I have just been holding on to her halter and letting the ewe lamb suck every 3 hrs and as long as I hold her the ewe will stand and let her drink, as soon as I back away she jumps away and bunts the lamb if she tries to drink again? She had no issues last year with a single. Is it possible to get them mothered up or not?
  2. Haviris

    Haviris Songster

    Sep 4, 2007
    Generally when one of my goats rejects a kid I just bottle feed, but you could try holding her for the baby every day, I've heard that sometimes after a few days they will go ahead and except them. I've also heard of taking both babies away and only bringing them back to feed, and sometimes after a day or two of this the doe (I don't have sheep so not sure how similar they are) will deside both are hers. If you still have the after birth you could try rubbing it on the baby, or if not I've heard (w/ horses and cows anyway) you can use some of her milk or urine to rub on the rejected baby.

    I've heard of some that never fully except on kid, but the kid learns to sneak dinner when it's sibling is nursing, and they grow just fine (sad start if you ask me). Not sure how helpful this is.
  3. Dodgegal79

    Dodgegal79 Songster

    Dec 1, 2007
    Princeton BC Canada
    I have read in old sheep books to take away her favorite lamb and tie her for the not so favorite. I would try, if you can handle getting to the barn every few hours, to take them both away and let them nurse at the same time. When we were kids we would take Vanilla extract and rub the lambs with it and the moms nose and that would help to get her to own up to it. I would rub them both, then give her the female to clean off, then the male after, may help. Good Luck
  4. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    We have just had this happen also.

    DH says the ewe often will think she won't have enough food to be able to produce enough milk for more than 1 baby, so she will reject the weaker one in order to let the stronger one survive.

    Sometimes she will accept the little one after it has nursed and the milk has passed puts the ewe's smell in the baby.

    Our ewe knows this is her baby, but still was butting her away. We just hold her and let the little one nurse. She is learning that if she pays attention to when her brother is nursing, she can nurse at the same time without getting pushed away. We held the ewe as often as we could, and checked the lambs tummy before she nursed every time. She had been sneaking some milk, because she has not been drawn up at all.
    If you are able to, I'd continue holding the ewe. I wouldn't get up all hours of the night, though. She will be fine until morning. Just make sure that you keep the ewe contained so she can't lead the lamb off and hide her, and never go back to get her.
    Sheep milk is very rich, and it is hard to find a decent milk replacer, in my opinion. Mom's milk is always better, and I don't think it is any more inconvenient to hold the ewe than to bottle feed.

    Ours were born on March 8th. This is the first time this ewe has had twins. She has had singles and has been an excellent mother in the past. We kept this ewe and the lambs in the barn for 2 weeks before letting them out with the other sheep. We only hold the ewe twice a day now, when we let them out in the pasture in the morning and when we bring them in at night. She doesn't nurse very long before she goes off to jump and play with the other lambs. I do see our little one nursing during the day out in the pasture, but only when her brother is nursing.

    Last year we had the same thing happen, and I had a goat that had stillborn twins the same time, so I just rubbed one of the dead kids all over the lamb and gave her to the goat. Now I have a yearling sheep who acts like a goat...LOL. She jumps into the back of the pickup, on top of rolls of hay, and anything else she can get on top of!

    I'm sure your little girl will be fine. Sounds like you are handling it just fine.

  5. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    My neighbor has a flock of about 300. He has this happen with the ewe lambs first time lambing now and again. He just stanchions the mother in a jug for a few days until they take.

    You could also try grafting the ewe lamb onto another ewe if you have any others with singles about the same size. Sheep aren't brilliant creatures and can often be confused.
  6. JJSmith

    JJSmith In the Brooder

    Sep 12, 2007
    Thank you everyone for your advice. I will continue to hold the ewe for a couple weeks, hopefully she will take to this little gal. The problem being is she is not very tame once let out so catching her to hold is a bit difficult once we let her out of the barn, but hopefully by 2 weeks the mom has either taken her or the little lamb will be strong enough to fight for her food and eat when her brother eats. Thanks again.

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