Friday, August 31, 2012

Lamb Recipes

Don't panic all you vegetarian readers, this is not about cooking lamb, lol. It's some recipes I have for FEEDING lambs, and I wanted somewhere to keep them all together in preparation for lambing next spring. I'll explain why later.

For scours: Mix 1 teaspoon of powdered Slippery Elm in a 1/4 cup of water. Shake this up and feed 3 times a day for 4 days.

Homemade Colostrum Recipe

3 cups 750ml cows milk.
1 beaten egg

1 tsp sugar/glucose
1 tsp cod liver oil (laxativ


1tsp castor oil
1 egg
600ml milk

Ok, now to explain. Colostrum, the very first milk animals make, is loaded with antib
odies, minerals and vitamins that are essential for healthy babies of any species. But if you have a sheep that has a bad udder, has mastitis, has triplets or for any other reason you find yourself with an orphaned lamb, you must feed 140ml of colostrum replacer (or the mix above if you are desperate) every 4 hours for the first 24 hours. After that you should use a commercially prepared ewe milk replacer. It comes as a powder and it's like making a giant baby bottle really. Lambs should be fed from the bottle with the nipple facing downwards so that they have to strain their necks as they would nursing from their own mother. Lambs need to be fed at least 4 times a day initially and then you gradually increase the amount and decrease the feeding frequency until you are ready for weaning them. The transition to grain or pasture can be done while still bottle feeding regularly. But more on that after Christmas.

A note though: It's always bet
ter to try and get 'real' colostrum if you can.

Our new sheep ar
en't arriving until the end of Sept. by which time they will have been bred to a handsome suffolk ram. This will give us some mixed blessings.
++ 5 ewes saved from the slaughter house for at least another year (they are good producers with bad udders)

++ Apparently all have multiples, so we'll increase our flock size quickly.

- - Bad udders means that they might only be able to feed one or maybe two lambs on their good sides but we won't know for sure until they deliver. It means we will be feeding lambs by bottle and that's a lot of work.

- - Seeing as how they are bred this early in the season, we're going to be lambing in horrible weather. I usually try and breed later in the season, after Halloween, so that my lambs are born in warmer Spring
weather of April. These poor darlings will be conceived during September and making an appearance in February when there is no green grass yet and it's still bitterly cold. We will have to have a nice draft free barn for them that's set up with a source of heat and water so as to make lambing easier for the ewes and to have a place we can raise the bottle babies. Plans are already under way for all these things though so don't worry. And it wouldn't be the first time I spent the night in a barn lambing during a blizzard.

It's a choice I have made, to have sheep that are cheaper and in the long run will produce better lambs due to excellent breeding, but I'm going to be bottle feeding possibly a dozen lambs for at least a couple of months which is a lot of work. Time to get one of those fancy lamb feeders!

There are all sorts of designs for lamb feeders but the cheapest and simplest to use are lamb size nipples (calf ones are way too big) that slide over the end of any pop bottle. You can use smaller bottles to start out and then increase to the larger ones as your lambs grow.

I'm thinking that 2 of these buckets might be a good way to go. But I bet they're expensive :( Still, if you have healthy lambs to show for it then it's worth it. Once my lambs are ready to become mothers in 2 years then I hope that lambing will be a much smoother affair and we won't be raising any lambs by hand. After all, the best place for a lamb is with it's mother.

We're off to the city tomorrow to have some family time and dismantle a shed (soon to be barn). Sounds like a fun weekend doesn't it? It's going to be a busy one at least. Before we leave town we have chores, fencing and cleaning to do. I really should try again to fall asleep, it's 4 am on the button right now. Almost time to get up :) But before I go, here's a video you might find humorous.

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