Lambing Help, Part 2…Common Problems {Weak Lambs} — 9 Comments

  1. We have a very unique problem after having hundreds of lambs. Our baby seems nearly completely blind and his mom abandoned him. I have to ory his mouth open to nurse, but he’s been growing steadily. Now he’s eating grass like our other sheep, but I’m not sure he’s swallowing it. When I try feedings with the bottle, he can’t swallow because his mouth and throat of full of undigested grass and atringy stems of plants. I have to reach in and pull it out. I felt him today, and can easily feel his bones under his fur. I just have a bad feeling about him, but I’ll keep feeding and holding him. I live near the ocean and the grass is packed with minerals.
    Any ideas out there?

    • That doesn’t sound like anything we’ve seen. I know inverted eyelids are fairly common eye issues for lambs, or pink eye. But that would cause weeping and crusting in the eye. Have you examined his mouth and throat closely? Could it possibly be some type of reflux or premature regurgitation of cud? I would be sure to continue bottle feeding, and put vitamins and electrolyes in the bottles. Possibly some yogurt.

      There’s also a pretty comprehensive illness list at NADIS that might bring up something…

      Good luck!

      • Thank you Jamie. We’ve had abandoned lambs for over 15 years and ne3 saw anything like this.
        I’ll post our findings here

  2. Hi i have a lamb about 6 to 8 weeks that was up and jumping around but now won’t walk,its trying to get up i tryed standing him up between my legs he is rearing to go but flops

    • It could be any number of things. I would look at calcium and selenium deficiencies (white muscle disease) and maybe give the vet a call.

  3. We have found that giving free choice kelp has helped greatly with mineral deficiency. My mom and dad raised sheep when I was little and had issues with White Muscle Disease. We make our own mineral mix using goat minerals, Redmond’s, baking soda, and DE.

    • I’d be interested in your recipe. We’ve tried to go the kelp route before and had trouble securing a steady supply. I would love to revisit this! Right now we use a Purina protein supplement from TSC during our pre-lambing and lambing season and a pastured-all-stock mineral salt the rest of the year. I also think that steadily improving our soil and grass is/will make a difference, but that’s certainly a long-term proposition! 🙂

      • Just getting back to this, sorry! The “recipe” for our mix is at the barn so I will have to get it tomorrow. I am reading Natural Sheep Care by Pat Coleby. The BEST book I have ever read on sheep. I am almost done with it and plan to go back and read with a highlighter and take notes. So much info that I have not read any place else. For example, dark fleece sheep have a higher copper requirement than light fleeced sheep. The only thing I have read over and over is that copper is always toxic to sheep. Over the last two years we have found that our Icelandic’s have higher mineral requirements than most sheep. She talks a lot about amending your soils and eliminate the health problems that tend to come with sheep.

        • Yes, we seem to have more trouble with calcium that would be expected and we think it’s from soil depletion after row crops for so long. Most books suggest selenium or vitamin E deficiencies, and we’ve seen some of that, but calcium is a biggie for us too.