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I have a very nice Suffolk ewe, two years old. She had a single ram lamb four days ago. He weighed 15 pounds and I had to pull him as the ewe was too tired (45 min of actual pushing so I pulled him). He is very healthy and the ewe has plenty of milk. The problem is that she will not let him suck - Sheep & Goats [Skip to Content]
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QUESTION
I have a very nice Suffolk ewe, two years old. She had a single ram lamb four days ago. He weighed 15 pounds and I had to pull him as the ewe was too tired (45 min of actual pushing so I pulled him). He is very healthy and the ewe has plenty of milk. The problem is that she will not let him suckle. She is a very gentle ewe. I can milk her out by hand. I can tie her up and just by pointing at her, she will let the lamb nurse. She isn't happy about it but she does it. But if I leave him in the pen she will not let him eat.

My question has several parts. 1. Should I just leave them together? She doesn't knock him around much, just pushes him out of her way. 2. Is it possible that she will never accept him? 3. Is this something that she will continue to do? Even with her conformation, I'm not sure she will be worth it. 4. I don't want to make him a bottle baby. If I call her in and put the lamb on her, how often do I need to do it? I am putting him on her every four hours around the clock at this time. or 5. Should I just turn her into a mini milk cow? She really doesn't mind if I milk her. In fact, she acts like I am the lamb.

I suppose I must consider the possibility that she has been made into too much of a pet.

Thank You


ANSWER

I suggest that you place the ewe in a stanchion with the lamb behind her. If you have access to drawings, I suggest that you read them, if not please send me you mailing address and I will fax or mail you some. If you cannot put the ewe in a stanchion, I suggest you tie her so that she cannot see behind her in a pen 4 by 6 or slightly larger to fit her size. Go into the pen with the lamb and hook it up to nurse. Make sure the ewe knows that you want the lamb to nurse the ewe. You should be on the side of the lamb and not allow the ewe to dictate the terms as she seems to be doing. Watch the lamb and make sure it nurses when it wants to. If the ewe kicks the lamb then tie her leg so she cannot. Be sure not to hurt the ewe. As long as the ewe can stand up and lay down then she will be OK. Actually the stanchion is better than the halter as she will less able to see the lamb. I would leave thenm that way for 5 days. Allow manure to build up behind the ewe, cover it with straw but do not remove it. Allow the lamb to smell like the ewe. Be sure to feed the ewe twice a day and give her free choice water. Usually a ewe that has been in the stanchion will accept the lamb after five days. You will know if she does not hit the lamb. If she does accept the lamb, keep the pair of them in the pen and do not allow the lamb to escape for another 3 days so they can learn to interact with each other. Then move the pair to a larger mixing pen and finally to the large group pen.







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