Ewe won't let newborn lamb nurse

Rin

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She managed to flatten the Tposts last night after I went to bed somehow (looks like she eventually uprooted one by pushing forward and got the other loose the same way). Imgoing to try to use another tpost or 2x4 across the top to keep the posts together. At least she was still tied up by the halter so couldn't fully escape.

But yeah culling her if she does this again was the plan. FL crackers are meant to not need this kind of intervention. One needing it regularly is a major fault. If a rabbit did this crap, I'd eat them and every baby they ever had would be gone. Thankfully I won't have to worry about how the lamb turns out in this case, I can't keep any rams anyway so he's most likely going to be meat later on even if it works out. Really really don't want to get too attached.
 

Jeannie J

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Ditto what everyone else is saying about penning them together. I have a ewe who is turning out to be a terrible mother, but I penned them together for 4 days in a small confinement so that baby could nurse. I had to help the baby find where to nurse a few times, but once he got the hang of it he was good to go. She still isn't the best mom (she keeps losing him on our large property) but she does hold still for him to nurse. We just have to make sure from time to time that he's able to keep up with her and not lost, poor thing. He is growing and doing well, but prefers to follow the other more attentive moms.
First time mother, had herself a ram lamb no problem sometime this morning but refuses to hold still for him to nurse. I don't think it is a bonding issue as she does "talk" to him and would not leave him for pellets this morning (I tossed a pile closer to her so she would eat). I don't want to interfere in a way that might make the situation worse but it is obvious she just isn't letting him nurse. Just gently spins away from his attempts. I uploaded a video showing the behaviour:

Should I do anything or just give her privacy and hope it's just stress from my presence? Does this look like stress, inexperience, or just the dreaded rejection (right after this video she did start to groom him
 

Rin

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I'm about to give up and let her go. She wrenched her head free again, almost snapped a tpost in half this time and knocked the top one loose. I was home to hear it. Almost sounded like a ups truck crashed into my carport. Because of how she did it, she managed to knock her halter down around her neck and wrapped it around the tpost and was choking herself (not enough to give serious harm but enough she was in obvious distress).

Seems the restraints cause her to full on panic at nightfall. No predators that I can see. Could be hearing things or responding to the other sheep's calls.

Still hasn't accepted him, she is now stomping when she feels him approach and kicking him off as soon as he's sucking.


Guess I might have to hobble her next? Might stop her plowing through the Tposts?
 

Beekissed

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Does this pen have regular fencing slats to the walls of it? You can nail up a few boards to a wooden fence and achieve a proper headgate. The T posts will only work if you add wooden bracing to them and they are driven deep into the ground. That way you don't need the halter at all. And, if you could put a sheep or two beside her pen where she could see them and feel like she's with the others it may help.

If not wanting to do all of that, you could advertise him quickly on FB as a bottle lamb and people will come running....seems like there's a plethora of folks out there with time on their hands and a want for little things to care for.

Definitely hobble if she's kicking him off. She sounds like a real pill!
 

Rin

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An Update: I tried the headgate for a day and a half longer but gave up on that when she broke free repeatedly (turned out it was barn cats coming and going that was spooking her). I noticed he seemed to be doing really well despite her constant escapes so tried going back to just keeping her on a halter and catching her throughout the day and night and holding her while he feeds.

As soon as I have her by the rope, both of them know the deal. She holds still and he goes right to feeding. Once I let go of the rope she rotates away from him again. Stopped trying to kick him off, seems to specifically be a reaction to the headgate.

She's very cooperative to halter feedings. Just nibbles on my clothes and only turns to sniff him every now and then. He's also so used to it that he ran to get me this morning and hollared at me to get his mom. Reacts like a bottle baby only the "bottle" is his actual mom. :hu

I still went out and purchased some bottle supplies. If they just keep this up long enough then I should be able to bottle feed on one of the less frequent feeding schedules. The starting schedules just wasn't humanly possible.

They still snuggle up as a herd. He's frequently hanging out with my other lamb (she wanted a playmate so bad so she's always bugging him to play, he's almost taller than her now even though she's 3 weeks older).

I'm mostly at this point just struggling with knowing how long to hold her for each feeding or when to try and switch him to a bottle or if I even should since holding her is faster and easier than mixing a bottle up. Currently I have been alternating which teat to offer him and just standing there and letting him go at it until he seems to lose interest (looking away, grooming his hoof, trying to nibble on objects, etc.)

He has had several nice healthy milk poops I have personally seen. Healthy amount of pee when I do see him urinate. Doesn't seem dehydrated when I pinch his skin nor does he seem to be losing any weight. Only cried the first day and this morning at all. Her udder also looks very drained and small compared to how it did at his birth.

I'm also planning to give her a second chance. Mostly because I suspect he was just a really massive lamb. He came out as big as my 3 week old ewe at the time. Same breed. Do late babies happen in sheep and are they harder on their mommas? Both ewes were exposed to the same ram at the same time, both FFs. The ewe lamb was born 3 weeks before this ram lamb was and have been the same size despite the difference in age. I know rams are typically bigger but he was kind of above and beyond that.​
 

Baymule

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That’s so funny, he runs to you and yells at you. LOL LOL That has to put a smile on your face, kinda makes it all worthwhile. If he is doing this good, I wouldn’t worry about a bottle. Unless the time constraints of having to hold her each time is taking up your time, I know it’s hard to work long hours plus do everything you need to do.

I’d give her a second chance also. He could have been so big for any variety of reasons. Hang in there.
 
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