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Weaning Time for Bottle Lambs

Weaning Time for Bottle Lambs
Lisbeth is going to miss her bottle.

 

It is weaning time and this little one is going to miss getting her bottle each day. Lisbeth was an unthrifty lamb from one of our triplet groups and is nearing weaning age.  I never encourage bottle feeding in my flock as I feel that mum’s milk provides the best nutrition for the lambs. I would rather support the nursing ewe who has either rejected her lamb or is having trouble producing enough milk, rather than turn her lamb/s into bottle babies. In most situations this works well, but on those rare occasions when it does not, I will bottle feed or supplement with a bottle. This little ewe lamb has been supplemented with a bottle since she was about 2 weeks old when it became evident that mum was not providing enough milk for all three of her lambs.

Signs of an unthrifty lamb:

  • stands hunched up and off by themselves
  • not gaining weight at the same rate as the other lambs
  • appears lethargic or not interested in playing
  • or feels cold inside of their mouth.
weaning a bottle lamb
With milk dribbling from the corner of her mouth, Lisbeth looks back to see if I have more milk for her to drink.

Lisbeth would stand hunched up and would not join the other lambs in their play. I also noticed she was not gaining weight at the same rate as her two brothers. So I have supplemented her with two bottles a day. Lisbeth, three months old now, is eating on her own, and has caught up to her brothers in size. It is time to begin to wean her off of her bottles. We have cut back to just once a day feeding and Lisbeth has made it known that she does not like this situation. She will stand at the fence and baa if she sees me in the yard in the evening. Once night settles in, she quiets down until morning, when she is back at the fence line again.

Gotland Ewe Lamb
Satisfied, Lisbeth walks back to the rest of the flock.

 

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