I have a bit of a dilemma. Ewes lambing away now and doing fine but i have a burst of multiples. My scanned with twins are firing triplets and my triplets are firing quads. I have been unsucessful in fostering before and normally bottle surplus lambs and let triplets with their mothers on grass and 2kgs or ration. With the numbers now it will be difficult if not impossible to go bottling so any ideas on rearing surplus lambs or managing ewes to rear 3 to 4 (or how to foster) would be appreciated

Comic Book Guy Registered User

Ya must have quite the workload at the moment lad!

Purchasing a fostering crate or making up a homemade one would be of some help.

Not that I'm an expert or anything but fostering does take a lot of patience. I find tying up the front and back legs of the fostered lamb and covering him in the birth fluids of foster ewe and introducing him before she starts licking her own lambs to work well.
Adding a small amount of warm salted water into the mix also encourages her to lick the foster lamb and start the bond.

Hope this helps, best of luck for next couple of weeks!!

dvet Registered User

Comic Book Guy said:

I find tying up the front and back legs of the fostered lamb and covering him in the birth fluids of foster ewe and introducing him before she starts licking her own lambs to work well.

+1. Rubbing the afterbirth all over them is important. Make them nice and wet with it, and if they're big, tying the legs will help them to look more like a helpless newborn. Sometimes handling the ewe vaginally (gently!) just before you introduce the lamb will make her think she's just pushed another one out as well (sorry if that sounds a bit graphic!)

Also, if a ewe has a lamb that's died, you could try skinning the lamb and tying the skin onto whatever lamb you want to foster on to her.

Some ewes just seem to accept it easier than others. Fostering crates/homemade versions can help with difficult ones, I've also seen some farmers cut holes into the base of a bucket, put the ewes head in through it and the bucket around her head acts like 'blinkers' & helps stop them attacking the lamb. That's a bit of a desperate measure but it might help... just make sure there's no rough edges and that the ewe can still eat and drink plenty. If she's not comfortable it won't work out.

Hope something works out for you!

eorna Registered User

once you have them scanned watch the singles like a hawk and when her lamb is ready pull it and give it to her to lick, then quick enough get the adopted lamb (similar size if you can) and wash it in fluids and tie legs for a while and give it to her (the better you rub it the better will work)..works well for us..also mark lamb and keep an eye as they can reject them at later stage..the adoption pens work well too and they are easy and cheap enough to throw together. (you can pm me if you need more info) good luck


Thanks for the info. Just surfaced again hating sheep again but only for a week or so. I used use fostering crates but lost loads of lambs with ewes lying on them after a day or two. I have 2 cormac gates but would like to try to prevent the ewes killing the lambs if possible

jtex Registered User

i always make sure foster lamb is dry first the cover in birthing fluid and plenty of salt esp around the head an tail. I dont let the ewe lick her own lamb for at least 10 mins again add salt. Works for me as we usuall have at least 20% trips

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sheepdogone Registered User

best thing to do is let the ewe keep the lambs and top them up with a bottle twice a day then when their a week old if they live that long take the best drinker off the ewe an buy a milk maid bucket u can feed loads of lambs with it an it dont cost a fortune . we used to use one now we have a rearing machine for them . its less time consuming to hand rear than try to foster wet or crate especially on our farm with big number of ewes . good luck.

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