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Thread: Dying lambs

  1. #1
    elmo
    Guest

    Dying lambs

    A lot of you sheep farmers will probably think whats new there!
    I've lost 5 lambs out of my latest lambing bunch of 45 lambs. They lamb indoors and are turned out 2/3 days old but then after a week/10 days i find them weak (struggling to stand) and within 12/24 hours they're usually dead. Some of them have a little scour but nothing serious although the last one was perfectly clean. Sheep jabbed with Heptovac p and lambs are given LA Terramycin and Scour Halt at birth. Any suggestions to cause or what I could do when I find them to hopefully keep them alive?
    Any help would be appreciated as I'm getting a bit fed up to get them to that stage and then loose them.

  2. #2
    Big Vern
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    certainly dont claim to be a sheep expert..
    do you have to turn them out so fast?, our guvnor moves them from lambing shed to a bigger more open shed to harden off for about a week and half to 2 weeks before they go out.. mid you thats in "suny somerset" in jan feb not sure where you are. perhaps some just arnt man enough..??

  3. #3
    Timbo_1975
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    Are they getting plenty of milk? What condition are the ewes in? More info please...

  4. #4
    Penmoel
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    Quote Originally Posted by elmo View Post
    A lot of you sheep farmers will probably think whats new there!
    I've lost 5 lambs out of my latest lambing bunch of 45 lambs. They lamb indoors and are turned out 2/3 days old but then after a week/10 days i find them weak (struggling to stand) and within 12/24 hours they're usually dead. Some of them have a little scour but nothing serious although the last one was perfectly clean. Sheep jabbed with Heptovac p and lambs are given LA Terramycin and Scour Halt at birth. Any suggestions to cause or what I could do when I find them to hopefully keep them alive?
    Any help would be appreciated as I'm getting a bit fed up to get them to that stage and then loose them.

    West Wales , we have had some awful weather for young lambs, horizontal sleet and rain on Sunday morning, week last saturday was i think the worst really cold and wet.

    If the ewes are not really milking well the lambs are just hunchbacked and feeling sorry for themselves. What breed are they? If they are anything to do with a suffolk they will be feeling all the worse in wet weather.

  5. #5
    nuggs31
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    When did you inject the ewes with Hept P? From a past experience doing them too early pre lambing can reduce the effect of the clostridial disease 'protection' for the newborn lambs, especially during the first few weeks. I try and do them now as close as possible to lambing, 3-4 weeks.

  6. #6
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    Quote Originally Posted by nuggs31 View Post
    When did you inject the ewes with Hept P? From a past experience doing them too early pre lambing can reduce the effect of the clostridial disease 'protection' for the newborn lambs, especially during the first few weeks. I try and do them now as close as possible to lambing, 3-4 weeks.
    I was told that research had shown the opposite to be true. I always used to do them at 3 weeks pre-lambing, for the reason you say. I was told that the bulk of the antibodies get to the udder a month or so before lambing.

  7. #7
    nuggs31
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    That's interseting Neilo. Who did the research?
    The diagnosis I had then was of dysentry following injecting too early. These were 7-10 day old lambs dying unexpectedly.

  8. #8
    Greysides
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    Did any of the lambs recieve colostrum from a cow?

  9. #9
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    Quote Originally Posted by nuggs31 View Post
    That's interseting Neilo. Who did the research?
    The diagnosis I had then was of dysentry following injecting too early. These were 7-10 day old lambs dying unexpectedly.
    I heard it from quite a progressive sheep farmer, who had also changed to jabbing earlier after hearing it from an Intervet rep. Presumably it was Intervet sponsored research?

  10. #10
    petec
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    Sounds as though the ewes arent milking very well. Plenty of milk and they will survive quite a lot. They need bringing up to lambing with good food and concentrates and continue this for a while after lambing. We use Covexin 8 about two weeks before lambing starts (this covers a wider range of dates) and then do the lambs later with Ovivac P (twice) to cover the Past.

  11. #11
    Kelpiekid
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    Question for Greysides, it wouldn't be white muscle disease would it ? Lack of vitamin E or selenium. I remember something like this many years ago and lambs walking like they were drunk, sinking away and dieing at around 4/5 days old.

  12. #12
    Greysides
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    KelpieKid, that's a possibility too. I was wondering why they'd die so quick, within 12-24 hours though.

  13. #13
    elmo
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    Latest is that I probably lost one more since the first post but no more losses since. Took the last lamb to the lab yesterday. Vet phoned to say they found signs of crypto spirodium (spelling?) (type of scour) but this in itself shouldn't be enough to kill them. This lamb did have some visible scour unlike the previous lamb. Hoping to hear more news later today. To answer some of your questions. The ewes are in a really good condition, possibly too good. They all seem to have bagged up well and haven't had to help hardly any to suckle etc. I feed them 2 a day. Lambs are strong enough before I turn them out. Weaker ones get a few extra days to strengthen up a bit if needed. Don't have masses of room but can keep them in for a litle longer if needed although this is how I've done in the past without any problems. Yes it was very cold with us on Sunday morning. My father had a case of White muscle disease a few years back, they don't seem as stiff as his did and his weren't dying. These were the earliest of this bunch to lamb, would have had the Hep P 4 weeks before starting. Ewes are Suff x, Tex x, with the lambs sired by Tex & CH rams (not the soft type before you say anything!). I do ocasionally use cow colostrum but don't think any of these had any but the six definitely wouldn't have had it.
    The only thing that I've done differently with this batch is that they've been turned out into fields that had slurry in December. Do you think this might have been a problem? Will keep you updated so that someone else might be able to avoid the problem.

  14. #14
    KMA
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    Think the slurry may have something to do with it
    Too early for nematodirus?
    Cold, wet weather can be pretty devastating, and give other factors a chance to finish them off. any shelter in the field? Was it coming from an unusual direction.

  15. #15
    llamedos
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    I would hazzard a guess that if you are having weather like us, it is that. If your ewes are good doers and well fleeced they wont be seeking any shelter and your lambs are succumbing to cold then low levels of infection, but enough to hit them hard.
    If you cant keep them in longer than you are doing, get them some straw bales out as shelter, and some lamb macks on before they go out.

  16. #16
    elmo
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    Just to keep you updated with the situation, I've been told that It's e-coli that's killing the lambs. Apparently it's a strain that's resistant to almost everything! All the things I was giving the lambs was a waste of time. Lost the twin of the one I took top the labs the other day and since then they seem to be o.k. I've moved them to another field as I'm still convincing myself that the slurry is to blame as lambs that went out of the same shed to another field have all been o.k and all lambs since then that have gone to a different field have also been fine. Hope this is the end of a harsh lesson!
    Thanks for all suggestions.

  17. #17
    andybk
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    i know i will get shot down but pig slurry is evil stuff for livestock fields , kills all the worms (drainage) and clover ,and can bring in all sorts of nasties that will stay on the fields for months (eryisipilas and e-coli remain active for months ) ,it makes the soil acid , one field that was used as a dump for wet days at one point ,
    that we use,
    the sheep wont eat the grass even though was last used 10 years ago ,there can be 6" of young grass but they stiill wont eat it , slurry was free around here for years from the local pig unit ,
    very few want it now for livestock fields .

    the problem with young lambs is they always nibble the soil first before the grass ,

  18. #18
    clover
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    I wouldnt put little lambs out to wander around in sh**e.Theres probably plenty people do it regularly with no problems,but it just seems risky to me.

  19. #19
    elmo
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    They weren't wondering around in sh*t as the slurry was spread about two months before they went into the field which meant there awas a nice bite in the field but do think that the gateways etc had got a bit muddy at the time and this was a big part of the problem.

  20. #20
    Marches Farmer
    Guest

    Re: Dying lambs

    [QUOTE=andybk;866999]i know i will get shot down but pig slurry is evil stuff for livestock fields/QUOTE]

    Previous owner of our farm had an 85 sow unit - all the dirty water went into a slurry pit then the clean water off the top overflowed into a slurry lagoon which overflowed into field drains in wet weather. All solids were piled up for two years before spreading and then only on fields that were to be left empty over the winter. We have far fewer pigs but follow the same schedule and it seems to be OK.

    My lambs are going into the "nursery" shed for a day and night before going out onto the field and then coming back at night for a couple of days before permanent turn out. Weather here is mild and sunny, although foggy in the mornings. Could be so much worse!

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