Lambs Artificially (Orphans) - Management Tips
2 to 4 hours after birth, decide which lambs among those from multiple
births you should remove. Look for the weaker, or smaller ones to choose
for artificial rearing. It is important to make this decision early.
Relatively weak lambs remaining with the ewes can experience more stress
than those reared artificially. Consider the following tips:
- It is essential that newborn
lambs receive colostrum milk. Cow's colostrum
will work if ewe's milk is not available. Do not dilute with water or
warm too quickly if colostrum is frozen.
- Lambs should
be removed from sight and hearing distance of ewe.
- Provide a warm, dry, draft-free
area to start lambs.
- Use a good milk replacer
that is 30% fat and at least 24% protein. Each lamb will require from
15 to 20 pounds of replacer to weaning.
- Use good equipment. Self
priming nipple and tube assemblies have been found to be excellent for
- Lambs may require some assistance
the first day or two to teach them to nurse on whatever feeding device
- Start on nurser quickly.
Young lambs start easier.
- Self feed cold milk replacer
after lambs are started. Milk replacers should be mixed with warm water
for best results and then cooled down. Lambs fed cold milk grow well
with less problems from scours and other digestive disturbance. Cold
milk keeps better too.
- There is a Formaldehyde
solution commercially availabe that retards bacterial growth in milk
(1 cc/gallon milk).
- Hang a light over the milk
replacer feeding device and dry ration feeder.
- Avoid placing young lambs
with older lambs, as they may be pushed aside and not be able to obtain
milk replacer. Remember that lambs nursing ewes drink 25 to 40 times
per 24 hours. Best results have been obtained when lambs are fed in
groups of 3 to 4 initially. After lambs are successfully trained, they
can be handled in groups of 25.
- Inject lambs in the first
few days with Iron Dextran, Vitamin A-D-E, and Selenium-Vitamin E. At
15 days of age, vaccinate for overeating (Colostridum perfringen type
C & D).
- Provide lambs a high-quality
creep feed as soon as possible. Provide ample fresh water in from ot
lambs at all times. Do not feed hay or oats the first three weeks of
age as it encourages bloat. Caution! Do not feed leafy alfalfa until
two weeks after weaning, as it may encourage bloat.
- Wean lambs abruptly at 21-30
days of age. Newly weaned lambs will go backwards for several days.
Don't be alarmed, they will make compensating gains later on.