Cold Weather Lambing Tips

by: Dr. G.F. Kennedy

-Heat lamps can be a disaster and are not very effective.

-If water doesn’t freeze in the bucket it is warm enough.

-Ewes generate a lot of heat and sheared ewes create less humidity, ventilation is essential to remove ammonia gas generated by deep bedding and manure.

-Our lambing barn has no heat, is well insulated and we can lamb without problems up to -20 degrees.

-Immersing lambs in warm water is an effective way to reverse hypothermia in newborns, drying off afterward is essential.

-Tubing with high energy products such as QuickStart is safer than fluids subcutaneous or intraperitoneal.

-Tubing with colostrum, milk replacer and QuickStart is much more effective than attempts at bottle feeding.

-Shearing prior to lambing reduces humidity and encourages ewes to lamb inside.

-Shearing reduces ewes laying on lambs and makes the udder more available.

Under marginal conditions, drying off lambs and kids, and providing instant nutrition by tubing is essential as well as constant monitoring of lambing.

Last season we brought a three day old lamb back to life. We missed him, and we found him comatose and very cold, and unable to stand. We tubed him with warm milk replacer spiked with QuickStart. We also placed two hot water bottles by him and covered him with wool. The next day his mouth was warm and when I helped him up he stretched. I also gave gave the lamb a cc of Nuflor and a tenth of a cc of Dexamethasone and he is on his way.

About Ask-a-Vet Sheep

Veterinary services, procedures, biologicals, and drugs mentioned in this publication represent the personal opinions and clinical observations of the contributing author. They are in no way intended to be interpreted as recommendations without the consent of the producer’s own practicing Veterinarian. We strongly urge that producers establish a patient-client-veterinarian relationship that allows extra-label use when there are no drugs approved for treatment or if approved drugs are not effective. This procedure allows veterinarians to go beyond label directions when “prudent use” is necessary. The limited availability of drugs and biologics in this country is a major factor in restricting the growth of the sheep industry and allowing producers to compete in the world market place.
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