URGENT info needed re: how to encourage MILK production!

shepherdO

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Hi all,

As I just posted in my post re: Nibbles and her quads, she 'miraculously' came back to life after essentially being a goner. She now won't let me take the lambs away from her - if I do she races around, and ignores her feed completely. At least with her lambs there she'll eat a bit here and there...

The problem is, she doesn't seem to have any milk. Her udder is the size of an American football, also that shape - vertical. It's huge, but feels like a bicep, no milk. It felt like that when the lambs were first born as well.

I know it's possible it's 'hard bag' or whatever, and I don't think it's mastitis.

My question: is it possible to bring on more milk other than feeding her more? I wondered if (eg) calcium, either in the form of an injection, or (eg) Tums or something like that would help?

Just wondering if it's possible to giver her something that will encourage milk flow? I'm heading out soon to town, so now's my chance to pick up 'stuff'. Thanks!
 

shepherdO

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Yep I've been doing that. They suck on her all the time (which has to be hard on her) but she seems happy with them there. However, how do I get some milk out of her?
 

Goat Whisperer

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Is it possible she just isn't letting her milk down for you? Or is her udder full of edema?
Some does freshen with edema and it takes time for it to go down.

Given her past issues I'd be giving CMPK gel (if she were a dairy goats- again I don't do sheep)

With her being in such rough shape I wouldn't expect her to sustain all four lambs.
 

mysunwolf

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I'd personally also give banamine (or aspirin, but banamine is better), it's an anti-inflammatory and can help with edema. Make sure the salt in her diet is limited, and that feed protein is 16% or below for now. Milk her out. I know you said you can't get any, but I would be down there massaging, gently grabbing part of the udder and part of the teat, milking with one hand and massaging with the other, to try and get some milk out. What the milk looks like will help you determine if it's mastitis as well. She will dry up soon if neither you or the lambs are expressing any. You could also try separating the lambs for a few hours and see if they are not just keeping her very well milked out. A good vet will have oxytocin, and that can help with letdown as well but won't help if she's just not producing at all. If she has hardbag or a subclinical form of mastitis, a nice shot of LA 200 or penicillin can help relieve that, as well as warm compresses. If she has a wrecked udder from previous mastitis cases (she must have been bred a time or two before she came to your place?), she may just not be able to produce milk at all. When you say a bicep, you mean a flexed bicep am I right? That texture is not good for an udder, and probably means she does not have a milk supply, in which case you can't do much. It's kind of hard to tell without being there what is going on though!
 

shepherdO

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Great idea thanks. I'll do penicillin, calcium injection, more propylene (talked to the vet who suggested keeping that going until she's fully recovered), then massage and hope for the best.

I do have two ewes who are suckling (reluctantly) a couple bottle lambs at the moment, so my backup plan is to bottlefeed until they're confident enough, and then put them on one of those ewe 'milk-machines'. But I'll still try to get this gal up and running first.
 

shepherdO

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Okay so I've separated the two stronger guys and I'm going to try to latch them onto my rambouillet ewe who lost her lambs. Technically it should work... but I'm seriously getting weary of all this creative lamb-udder switching.

I think last night I got to the point where I'm just sick/tired of lambs needing and not getting milk! :eek:P I can totally understand why people select for ewes who lamb unassisted and take care of their own on their own. At the beginning of lambing season (my first) I didn't mind all the extra work b/c it was a bit of a novelty. But knowing that I'll be spending my spring break mostly in the lambing pens shifting around lambs to different mums with milk, who act like rodeo bulls the whole time... well, methinks I know which sheep will be shipped :)
 

Baymule

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I really like my ewes, they usually surprise me with new lambs in the mornings. This year I had 5 FF and I had to help a few get the hang of it, but they all took their lambs and are raising them. If I had to be acting midwife to every birth, pulling lambs and reaching up inside to turn them around, I wouldn't have them. I know that sometimes things just go wrong, I get that. But if a ewe never got it right, she'd be gone.
 

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