Monday, March 9, 2015

Warmer Days & One Teat

This week is the first in months to be so warm, sunny, and melty! Outside while doing chores and going about the morning and evening rounds I can not help but feel the change all around me. There is more energy, more light, and more...more! Meaning that there are more animals born and on the way (chicks in the mail, kids in late April, etc) and I am feeling that flux in energy that gets you up a little earlier and excited about once unbelievable things - like thawed dirt and chicks in the palm. This week the vlogs will filmed outside for the first time in a long while and if I can figure out how to unthaw/dig out the horse gate I might even saddle up Merlin for a trot down the road. He'll be stubborn and jumpy like he is every spring but just the thought of being back in the saddle gets my endorphins waltzing. I hope all is well wherever you are in the world!

One more thing to note, perhaps some of you have advice to share? I pasted this up on Facebook this morning but in case you missed it: The newly born twins out of Split Ear are 2 days old now, I have watched them nurse, but they don't seem to be doing it well? Compared to the other twins born this year they seem a little slow on the uptake. I want to scoop them up, give them milk replacer, nutrition paste, even bring them inside but I feel this might be a little bit of an overreaction? Would you offer them a bottle a day and keep them with their mom or let them figure out how to get better at the milk machine? They just don't seem to have the round bellies they should...
Edit to this: The lambs are nursing, active, and crying out for momma when she isn't there. The mom is producing milk but only one udder seems to be working, the other might be plugged? I would rather bottle feed them a few times a day than have the vet come and clear the udder, but might have to if she develops any sort of infection. This is her 6th or 7th year lambing so I am not worked so much about her constitution as I am about the lambs getting all they need from one teat.


Blogger Gail Willie said...

Check the ewe for blue utter. That is when the blood supply is cut off and the utter dies. Could just be one utter. Then you would need to bottle feed the lambs. A few years ago I had triplets born and the ewe developed the blue utter and I had to bottle feed the babies.
Good luck!
Gail Willie

March 9, 2015 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Gowan Batist said...

I would check to see if the lambs are only nursing on one side. I've had that happen before; in the first few days of their life they don't see well so they're nursing a lot by smell, and the twins decided one side was great and the other wasn't. I milked out the overly tight side and stuck a baby on it a few times and they figured it out. Be really wary of mastitis, milk her out if you have someone to help you hold her. My neighbor also had a goat last year who was older and dried up on one side, and she raised triplets just fine from one teat. But I would be really, really careful and cautious and try to get that teat going.
I just had twin lambs a few days ago and one is much less vigorous than the other, it happens. I just make sure I see her nurse at least five times per day even if I have to nudge her up to the teat.

March 9, 2015 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger Laura L. said...

Is it possible that she had mastitis last time (maybe after weaning the last lambs)? Can you get milk out of that side at all?

My preference would be to leave the lambs with her, but supplement them with a bottle. They learn so much from being with their mom (and other sheep).

March 9, 2015 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Hi Jenna,

I would try seeing if the teat has a plug in it. They can be really hard to work out. I have a question for you. Is the udder on that side with the problem full or flaccid? If it seems full it just might be the teat is plugged with an oil plug. If its flaccid it could be that she has had
mastitis on that side and its not working anymore.

When I have a doe have trips or not enough milk I bottle once or twice a day but still keep them with mom so they still are getting the benefits of moms milk and her mothering. Anyway just a thought and hope everything works out okay. Take care.


March 9, 2015 at 5:58 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

IMO you need to clear that teat, or you're gonna be looking at mastitis. Otherwise, as long as the lambs act vigorous, I would leave them on her.

March 9, 2015 at 7:26 PM  
Blogger Diane Hovey said...

I would keep them with their mom. Are the insides of their mouths warm? If so, they are eating. We always do belly checks by just lifting them up and seeing how they feel. Supplementing with a bottle is never a bad thing but I would leave them with mom.

March 9, 2015 at 7:30 PM  
Blogger farm buddy said...


Is that other side of her bag hard? Can you get milk out of both teats? Does the milk look normal out of both teats? When a ewe lambs, it is always a good practice to take a squirt of milk out of each teat to remove the normal waxy plug. If the milk looks normal, but the lambs appear hungry, I would still keep them with their moms, but supplement them with some raw goat or cow milk. Everyone says lambs cannot have cow milk, but I have raised extremely healthy and beautiful lambs on raw cow milk. I offer them a human baby bottle of milk up to six times a day, all the while leaving them with their real mom. If the ewe's milk is watery or bloody, she probably has mastitis, and you will need to address that issue promptly. Good luck to you and your lambs!

March 9, 2015 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger sarah e blog said...

check for mastisis better to have the vet come look than an infected sheep, or worse..

March 9, 2015 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger Di said...

I too would leave them with their mother. Bringing them in the house is a very last resort. Each time you bring a lamb in the house, you're interfering with its natural hardiness and before you know it you have generation upon generation of dependent sheep.

As others have suggested, take care of that ewe's udder. If necessary, give the lambs a couple bottles just to keep their strength up. But within a few days, they should be aggressive enough to fight each other for that one teat. And chances are that ewe will produce enough milk from just one.

They sure are cute!

March 9, 2015 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger renee said...

Good luck with it. Supplement feed. The little amount of mother's milk they get is always bette than nothing. Can you give her extra to encourage milk? In the weather you are having, the more milk the lambs get, the better they will eat hay when ready and will have a stronger immune system

March 10, 2015 at 5:03 AM  
Blogger aart said...

Figure out what's wrong with that udder asap....don't wait for it to blow up into a crisis on you. Unless you're ready to put her in the freezer.

March 10, 2015 at 5:43 AM  
Blogger Sam Sheehan said...

As for can the one teat keep up with their needs: I'm gonna say it's all supply and demand love, the hungrier they are, the more they suck, the more she produces. As long as they're still up and suckling I wouldn't worry too much, might take a few days for production to pick up. I would only supplement if they seem lethargic/weak.
Maybe continue trying to hand express the blocked side several times a day, to see if you can get the blockage to clear

March 10, 2015 at 10:12 AM  

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