Thursday, February 21, 2013

Electrolyte For Sick Lambs

Electrolytes are responsible for keeping the body hydrated so that the muscles and nerves can function properly.
Electrolyte solutions help restore electrolytes lost by the lamb during sickness due to dehydration.
Its best to feed electrolytes 30 minutes before or after feeding as electrolytes slow down the digestion of milk. You can purchase electrolyte tablets and solutions from your vet or you can try home made electrolyte. Commercial electrolyte solutions are preferred over homemade.
A well made fluid electrolyte will be able to replace the fluid and electrolytes lost during scouring. It will prevent excessive dehydration which is a leading cause of death in sick lambs.
A dehydrated lamb is an almost dead lamb.

Home Made Electrolyte Recipe

1 Quart Water
2 Ounces of Dextrose(corn syrup)
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

Before you give the lamb the electrolyte ensure that that the lamb is not chilled. Mix the electrolyte with warm water. Try to get the lamb to suck on the bottle that contains the electrolyte. If the lamb will not suck from the bottle then you will need to use the stomach tube and syringe. You can also inject an electrolyte solution intraperitoneally you can get a lesson on how to do this from your vet.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bloat In Lambs

The main cause of bloat thought to be a bacteria sarcina ventriculi. Warm milk entering the stomach creates perfect substrate for fermentation.
From the fermentation of the bacteria excess gas is produced causing the expanding of the stomach.
This aggressive bacteria lives on lactose. This bug is everywhere and is easily picked up by the lambs.
The bloated stomach of the lamb can rupture killing the lamb. The other organs can also be crushed.
Abdominal  bloat in young lambs is clinically diagnosed by a dissension abdomen especially the right side.
Bloat can also be caused due to a lack of colostrum and over feeding.

You should really try to prevent this terrible loss by good farm management.
Most farmers seem to loose their bummer lambs to bloat when they are 4 weeks old.
Don't feed the lamb too quickly every 10 seconds you should stop and resume feed.
The hole in the teat should not be too big. The strong sucking of the teat encourages the closing of the valve in the stomach which is needed. If a lamb was tube fed at any stage this valve could be damaged extra strong  sucking is needed in this case also.
Never make the bottle with hot water and allow it too cool this will cause digestive problems.
Do not feed warm milk replacer after the first few days of lambs life.
Feed the lamb cold milk replacer. The bacteria multiply at a quicker rate with the warm milk.
Don't feed meal immediately before or after feed.
Add yogurt to the lamb milk repalcer. Best to start this when the lamb is 5 days old.
Yogurt contains probiotics that prevent pathogens from growing by providing competition for bad bacteria. Yogurt also contains probiotics which stimulate the growth of good bacteria.
Add the yogurt with the milk replacer leave for 24 hours and serve cold
You can use powder probiotic to give the lamb the necessary enzymes to digest the milk.
Teaspoon of vegetable oil mixed with the feed to stop the milk foaming in the stomach.


Early intervention is critical in the treatment of bloat. Early signs are a swollen belly and a miserable looking lamb.

Do not allow the lamb to have access to any feed.

Put a tube in the lambs belly via the nose or mouth. Make sure you don't put it into the lungs. To have the correct length of tubing measure from the head to just in front of the rear legs where they meet the belly. In less severe bloat this will release the gas. Rub the lambs belly while you have the tube in.

Then via a syringe  in mouth give 1 disprin, 1 table spoon of vegetable oil, and half a cc of penicillin to restart the rumen. Get the lamb to walk around and massage the belly.


Using syringe squire 3-4 cc of castor oil down the throat. Feed half cc of neomycin sulfrate to restart the rumen. Walk lamb and massage the belly.


Put the tube in the belly to try to release the gas, then syringe 40ml of vegetable or mineral oil and half cc of penicillin. Walk and massage lamb.


Half a teaspoon of ground ginger with 2 tablespoons of water via the syringe in mouth. Half cc of penicillin. Walk and massage lamb.


Relieving the bloat with a needle inserted into abomasum to vent the gas

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How To Prepare Lamb Bottle And Feed The Lamb

The first feed that your lamb needs is colostrum.This is vital for a new born lamb.It is full of nutrients and antibodies that ensure the survival and health of your lamb.You can purchase powder colostrum from a farm supplies store.The colostrum acts as a laxative to get rid of fecal matter.Once your lamb has had its adequate feed of colostrum you can start to feed it the lamb milk replacer.Under normal conditions the lamb willl suckle the ewe up to 40 times each 24 hours.Hense small frequent feeds for the lamb is best.

  • It is important that you follow the mixing instructions on the packet of your lamb milk replacer.
  •  Make sure your lamb is warm enough,a cold lamb will not fed.For the first few days feed the lamb the milk warm after its fine at body temperature or cold.The cold milk will also decrease the risk of bloat.
  • After feeding the lambs sides should be straight from hips to rib,if the sides puffed out then the lamb is being overfed.Lambs can get scours from overfeeding.
  • Feed 140ml every 4 hours.Then move on to 200ml four times a day.Gradually move up to 500ml four times a day for two weeks.7OOml three times a day for 2 weeks.Finally 500ml twice a day until weaned.
  • If a lamb is very weak give the lamb smaller feeds more times a day .
  • If the lamb gets scours you will need to give the lamb electrolytes and feed every two hours.You can buy powder electrolytes at vets or make it from salt sugar and baking soda.One feed will be electrolytes and one feed the milk replacer. Give a larger portion of electrolytes than the milk.When the lamb is improving give more milk than electrolyte.
  • Open the lambs mouth and move the teat from side to side to give the lamb a feel for the teat some lambs will take to the bottle straight away and some might be difficult at first.
  • Hold the lambs head and feed from above the lambs head,let the milk drip into the teat.
  • Have the lamb standing up while feeding.
  • The teat for the bottle should not be too small or too big.
  • Sterilize the lambs teats and bottle so that the lambs do not get scours.

  • By 13 weeks the lamb should be weaned of milk

  • 100ml of colostrum should be feed every 6 hours for the first 18 hours of life.
  • At one month they will happily be eating the hay but continue with the lamb milk replacer.Do not use cow milk to feed the lambs
  • Bottle fed lambs are often prone to bloat this can kill the lamb.It is often refereed to as frothy bloat.At 4 weeks they seem to be most prone.Some farmers when the lambs are 4 weeks give the odd injection of penicillin as preventative to bloat.Adding vegetable oil to the milk replacer could also help at this bloat risk time