Friday, May 8, 2015

Ewes rejecting lambs?

Ewe placed in an orphan head gate. Ewes that reject their lambs may be placed in the head gate to re-bond them with their lambs. Can also be used to graft lambs onto ewes. 

It's not uncommon to have a ewe reject her lambs. There are a variety or reasons that this may happen.
  • First time mothers may be afraid of what just came out of them. 
  • If group penned close together, some ewes become nervous. This is an opportune time for granny ewes to come and steal lambs. 
  • Sometimes a ewe having multiples will lose track of the first lamb (while focusing on birthing the second or third, etc). She then cleans off the later born lamb(s) meanwhile the 1st has wandered off. 
  • Sharp teeth. This causes discomfort to the ewe during feeding so they prevent the lamb from feeding in order to avoid the pain. This is fixed with a quick pass with a tooth file. Check the lambs teeth before doing so to ensure this is the cause of the neglect. 
For most cases (other than sharp teeth), rejection can be remedied by placing the ewe in an orphan head gate. 
Lamb with sharp teeth. Filing the teeth prevent the lamb from damaging the dam's udder.