Ewe doesn't seem to be able to keep up with lambs nursing

luvmypets

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My three year old ewe had her first set of twins last week. They seem to be nursing faster than their mama can produce. The mama gets high-quality alfalfa along with about a cup of all-stock and a steady supply of water. Her udder went from huge to about the size of an apple within the three days her lambs have been here. I know with time the demand for milk will only increase and I am wondering if I should supplement a bottle a few times a day. I know it can be hard to get dam-raised kids to nurse but I have done it before. Another thing is sometimes she knocks over her water and it can be some time before it is refilled. Could this contribute?
 

Goat Whisperer

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I don't own sheep, but only one cup of feed doesn't sound like it is near enough food for a nursing goat/sheep. What % protein is the feed?
 

luvmypets

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I don't own sheep, but only one cup of feed doesn't sound like it is near enough food for a nursing goat/sheep. What % protein is the feed?
I was thinking that as well, the feed is 12% protein.
 

luvmypets

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Are the lambs tummies filled and they are active? Just because her udder is no longer engorged doesn't mean it's not producing.
They look fat, but their bellies are somewhat caved in. They are very playfull as well.
 

Bossroo

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Provide a reliable and constant supply of water at ALL TIMES. This sheep as well as any other ewe that is in production needs ample supply of high quality feed as well as ample quantities of it to produce enough milk for proper growth of her offspring and not drag her condition down. I would seriously consider that you contact your Land Grant University that has a active Animal Science / Veterinary Medicine School for a specific recomendation for your particular situation.
 

norseofcourse

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If the lambs are active and bouncing around, and not crying and trying to nurse constantly without seeming to get much, they're probably doing ok. The alfalfa will give her more protein, which is good. You can increase her feed slowly if you need to - keep checking her body condition - you know how by feeling her spine, right?

The water is very important. Can you put several buckets out? And hopefully secure at least some of them so they can't be tipped over? Clip bucket handles to a fence with a double-ended snap, or tie them with a short length of baling twine, or put a bucket in an old tire so it's more stable.
 

Latestarter

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I don't own sheep, but IMHO; Grain that poor starving mama! :old 1 cup per day? :ep That doesn't sound near enough to feed 2 babies. Shouldn't she be getting 2-3 cups twice a day? and maybe more if that doesn't provide what she needs to maintain? From what I could find for a ewe nursing two lambs, they should be getting a pound to pound and 1/2 of grain (in addition to their normal fare)...

"Succulent pasture furnishes adequate energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals for ewes and lambs; no added grain is necessary. When pasture is not being used (confinement rearing), ewes should be fed one of the rations outlined for pregnant ewes in Rations for Pregnant Ewes up to 6 Wk Before Lambing, and 1–1.5 lb (450–675 g) of one of the grain mixtures in Grain Mixture for Pregnant Ewes. Ewes should have access to a mixture of trace mineralized salt and dicalcium phosphate. Ewes with twin or triplet lambs should be separated from those with single lambs and fed more concentrates (grain) and/or better-quality forages. Ewes nursing twin lambs produce 20%–40% more milk than those with singles. Under confinement rearing or accelerated lambing, lambs are commonly weaned at 2 mo of age. The ewe’s milk production declines rapidly after this period, and creep feed is more efficiently converted into weight gains when fed to lambs than to the ewe." From: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/management-and-nutrition/nutrition-sheep/feeding-practices-in-sheep

Italics, bold, underline and color added by me for clarification... Hope mama can catch/keep up! :D
 

luvmypets

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I feel dumb :oops:

So I have a question? How do you measure pounds of grain/hay? I don't have a scale and all the articles I have read have wonderful info. Its just I do not know how to measure in pounds of such. Is there a universal way I could measure like 1 cup = _ or something. Thanks in advance
 

Green Acres Farm

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I feel dumb :oops:

So I have a question? How do you measure pounds of grain/hay? I don't have a scale and all the articles I have read have wonderful info. Its just I do not know how to measure in pounds of such. Is there a universal way I could measure like 1 cup = _ or something. Thanks in advance
1 pound of feed is usually ~3 cups. I don't know about hay, but I don't worry about it as mine have free choice access.
 
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