Nature can be a cruel thing sometimes, filling the most joyous of occasions with sad moments where we need to act quickly to prevent further heartbreak. This is the case when a ewe passes away with complications when giving birth, or perhaps rejects her lamb when it has been born. 

As a farmer or the owner of a small-holding, it is crucial that you act quickly and correctly in those first few days of a lamb being born and orphaned, to ensure that it will survive and grow before they find their rightful place amongst your flock. 

Keep them in the right environment

The ideal place for an orphaned lamb is with other sheep, so that they realise quickly that they are part of a flock. However, it will also need to be kept warm and dry in their early days, so you may decide to keep it indoors until they find their strength. They will need access to sunshine and fresh air to help them develop, so try not to shield them from the outside world. An old jumper can often be cut into a suitable shape for a lamb to wear to keep them warm.

Offer your lamb companionship

Sheep are very sociable animals, so it is a great idea to keep lambs together wherever possible so that they bond. Even if you are keeping your orphaned lamb indoors for the time being, allow them out into the field with other lambs for a short amount of time each day. This will help the lamb to learn how to act as a sheep and make their integration into the flock much easier. 

Get the feeding routine right 

Teaching your lamb to drink from a bottle will help to recreate the suckling routine that they would have experienced from their mother. Start with a small teat and work your way up in size as they grow. They should be standing up when you feed them and catch on quickly that they need to suck. If you find that they are having issues with suckling, then you should consult a vet to ensure there are no health problems. 

Give your lamb colostrum 

Colostrum is essentially the first milk that a lamb would drink from its mother, so it is important to recreate this wherever possible. It is different from normal milk, as it contains a high level of protein, fats and essential antibodies that will allow a lamb to grow healthily. There are lots of colostrum brands on the market, which will be easy to use and feature everything that your lamb needs. 

Work on weaning

When your lamb is a few weeks old, you should be able to introduce it to solid foods. Water, grass and hay are what you should be offering your lamb, starting at around a month old and with an aim to be fully weaned from milk by 3 months.  


Post By Kimberley Roderick