Umbilical Cord Care

LindyAcres

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How do you all handle your lamb's umbilical cords? Last year I trimmed them and put on a clip (similar to ones babies get in the hospital) then dipped them in iodine. The clips were difficult to use and I slipped with one of the ram lambs who developed an abscess under his belly button. He ended up getting butted by our ram several months later bursting the abscess and quickly died. The aggressive ram is gone and I learned my lessons with the clips the hard way. So I know clips are out...I've heard some local farmers leave their calf's cords completely alone and have no problems, but I've never heard of a shepherd doing that. Any advice on what works? (picture of last year's lamb Lottie who is one year old now)
IMG_7495.JPG
 

Ridgetop

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I dip the remaining cord in iodine. I use a plastic pharmacy prescription pill bottle (after removing the medicine tablets), fill with iodine, insert the cord or stump in the mouth of the bottle and shake the iodine onto the cord and stomach. Never had a problem. I have used navel cord clamps when the cord would not stop bleeding but you can usually stop the bleeding by squishing the cord between your fingers towards the body. the instances I used the clamps were when the cord was too shrt ti compress. Then the clip worked well.

Sounds like the lamb had an umbilical hernia rather than an abscess. An umbilical abscess would have caused septicemia, and swollen knee joints.
 

SageHill

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@Ridgetop has the best answer. She has tons of experience. Here, I pour iodine in a disposable cup/ cut water bottle in a pinch and dip/swirl the cord in the cup. Never had to use clamps (so far).
 

LindyAcres

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I dip the remaining cord in iodine. I use a plastic pharmacy prescription pill bottle (after removing the medicine tablets), fill with iodine, insert the cord or stump in the mouth of the bottle and shake the iodine onto the cord and stomach. Never had a problem. I have used navel cord clamps when the cord would not stop bleeding but you can usually stop the bleeding by squishing the cord between your fingers towards the body. the instances I used the clamps were when the cord was too shrt ti compress. Then the clip worked well.

Sounds like the lamb had an umbilical hernia rather than an abscess. An umbilical abscess would have caused septicemia, and swollen knee joints.
When you say remaining cord are you trimming it then dipping it or just dipping the whole thing? I'm going to gather a small bottle and iodine so I'm ready.

The necropsy for the lamb we lost last year showed a well walled off abscess that had burst but the vet said it was a really strange thing to find in such a healthy looking lamb. Either way I think me slipping with the clamp probably caused the problem. Thanks for all the help! It is good to know those clamps could be useful in that way so I'll keep them.

Our ewes had their lambs about 8 weeks later last year and our temps were higher...I'm also trying to plan for colder births. I'm thinking tons of clean dry bedding and hanging a heat lamp I could use should I need it. I'll call our vet in the AM too but thought I'd put it out there! Lows are about 25 and highs about 35-40 right now.
 

LindyAcres

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@Ridgetop has the best answer. She has tons of experience. Here, I pour iodine in a disposable cup/ cut water bottle in a pinch and dip/swirl the cord in the cup. Never had to use clamps (so far).
Do you trim the cord at all or dip the whole thing?
 

Ridgetop

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When you say remaining cord are you trimming it then dipping it or just dipping the whole thing? I'm going to gather a small bottle and iodine so I'm ready.
I don't trim the cords unless they are so long the lambs are walking on them which is almost never.
Our ewes had their lambs about 8 weeks later last year and our temps were higher...I'm also trying to plan for colder births. I'm thinking tons of clean dry bedding and hanging a heat lamp I could use should I need it. I'll call our vet in the AM too but thought I'd put it out there! Lows are about 25 and highs about 35-40 right now.
Do you have a barn or shelter? If you use a heat lamb, you don't need to use anything hotter than a 100 watt incandescent bulb usually. Make sure that the heat lamb is secured above where a ewe could stand on her hind legs to reach it, and that it is very securely attached so wind can't blow it down. Also don't put it near windows or openings where rain can accidently hit the bulb. A drop of cold rain hitting the hot bulb will cause it to explode.
 

LindyAcres

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Ok I've got my iodine and small cups ready to go. We will try the no clip dip this year :) We built hoop houses and I sewed canvas tops and we put thick plastic on the ends. The sheep's house is the one on the right. It doesn't have a front on it because they haven't seemed to need it. They only go in there is it's pouring rain. I'm thinking I'll add the plastic front to theirs too. I also picked up some small sweaters to put on the lambs once they're dry. I'm thinking I won't need the lamp at all hopefully.
 

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