Sheep Teat Problemgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
We have a ewe that just gave birth to twins. One of her teats is very large, bigger than my thumb, and the other is smaller than usual. There is milk coming from both teats. The lambs are nursing off the small teat. However, they are not able to suck on the large teat. I tried milking it to reduce the size. Is there anything else I can do. Thanks alot. JoAnn
-- JoAnn (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 20, 2001
I don't have any experience with sheep but I've had this problem with cows. We'd have to milk out the cow and feed it to the calf for about a week till the swelling went down a bit. It is fairly normal for udders to swell and have some hardness after birth. If the teat isn't so big that they couldn't get a hold of it the problem is that they are just a bit lazy and the smaller teat is easier. You might try keeping them up in a pen and separating the kids but keep them where they can see and touch mom. Let them in to nurse frequently but make sure they nurse the larger teat. After a bit they will realise they can get milk out of both and they should be fine. I hope someone with some experience with sheep can be more helpful.
-- Amanda in Mo (email@example.com), February 20, 2001.
I believe what is happening is that the lambs were initially nursing on the one side and the other side became engorged with milk. Keep stripping enough milk off that side until the teats are equal ( save that milk in freezer for any future bottle lambs as it probably has initial colostrum in it. DON'T separate the lambs from the mother as you will end up with other problems( both sides engorged, mastitis, hungry lambs, stressed ewe, etc.)Just keep going in, stripping the fuller side some, put the lambs on that side and trust me, after a day or two should resolve itself. Also, when my ewes first lamb, I than put them in small lambing jugs or pens to monitor them, do tails, etc.If the ewe has a lot of milk, I do not give her grain for the first couple of days, just good hay and clean water, until the demand of the lambs keeps up with the supply.You might see this problem with single lambs at first as they nurse one side , get full and don't nurse both sides. But it doesn't take long for mom's milk production to adjust to the lambs needs.As you will observe, lambs will nurse briefly, but frequently their first few weeks. Totally ignoring the full unnursed side can lead to mastitis or drying off of the milk on that side.Another little tip, take a little milk on your hand, after stripping that side and rub it on both teats. That should help orient the lambs to both sides as well. Be patient! Kate (who still has 24 ewes to lamb).
-- Kate henderson (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 21, 2001.
I'm glad someone who knew more than I did about sheep responded! I'm glad to know how to handle this type situation....I plan on getting sheep just as soon as I can get my place fenced. Cows I know...sheep are a bird of a different feather :o).
-- Amanda in Mo (email@example.com), February 21, 2001.
Thanks for the help. I milked about a pint out of her last night and then again this morning. Tonight her teat is smaller and the lambs are sucking on it.
-- JoAnn (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 21, 2001.