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Ewe mother head butting ram lamb

Discussion in 'Behaviors & Handling Techniques - Sheep' started by mystang89, May 30, 2018.

  1. May 30, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 Loving the herd life

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    I have 2 ewe mothers. One is a great mother that took care of twins and everything is going great! The other is a piece of work that doesn't take care of her ram lamb. The ewe who had the single ram lamb was trying to feed him finally, and I think he finally latched on, when the other ewe, who is a great ewe, came over and head butted the ewe mothers utter and the ram lamb. I don't understand.

    The ewe mother who had twins, the one doing the headbutting, is normally a gentle ewe. I can't understand why she is doing this. She and the other ewe are inseparable. I bought them from the same person, at the same time and whenever they are apart it's like the world is going to end. So why is she doing this? The ram lamb is malnourished and we are trying to bottle feed him as well. He's not looking well. I say this because my wife and I thought that, since animals typically know when another animal of the same species is going to die, and those that are going to die typically go off by themselves to die, that maybe she was trying to get him to go off by himself?

    We normally put the two ewes in the same stall together but I didn't today because of the headbutting. Right now they are separated since I can't keep watch. Tomorrow, I don't know whether I'll put them together or separate them. Help me out here.
     
  2. May 30, 2018
    mysunwolf

    mysunwolf True BYH Addict

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    Other ewes typically headbutt lambs who are not theirs, but they shouldn't be butting so hard that they knock the lamb down (unless the lamb is weak already). She probably is just overprotective of her milk supply for her own lambs because she is an excellent mom.

    Separating them is good for now and will help you keep an eye on the little ram lamb. Once he gets a little stronger and has more energy, you should be good to put them all back together, but maybe not stalled together as that is just too small of a space for all those motherly hormones. Give the ram lamb some sheep drench with vitamins, inject B complex, and keep trying the bottle or consider having someone tube him who know how to do so. Sounds like he needs more milk for sure. Did he get enough colostrum?
     
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  3. May 30, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 Loving the herd life

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    Thanks @mysunwolf . I really don't know if he got enough colostrum to be honest. The mothers udder bag is hard. Don't know if that's a mastitis sign or not but she also doesn't have much milk coming out when I milked her. We tried giving him a milk bottle from the local Farming store but I think the nipple was too large. It was at least 4 times the size of mothers. Wife went in and got a baby bottle and used that instead. Seemed to work better if for no other reason than because the milk just continued to drip out so once in his mouth he really didn't have a choice but to drink. I suppose tomorrow will be spent making another stall. Poor fruit and garden plants just aren't getting any love this year lol.

    I will try to find the vitamins and the B complex at the store tomorrow.
     
  4. Jun 11, 2018
    Donna R. Raybon

    Donna R. Raybon Loving the herd life

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    A good tool/skill to have is a 'weak kid/lamb esophogeal tube. It is a lifesaver when no suck reflex or unconscious chilled baby.

    Mastitis is a worry. So is Ovine Progressive Pneumonia (OPP) a virus related to Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Virus (CAEV)

    How are lamb and ewe doing?