Bottle feeding lambs helps to ensure that they get the proper nutrition that they deserve, however the only downside is that it can be expensive for owners which is why one might ask the question, “when to stop bottle feeding lambs.” The article below discusses all the factors you need to take into consideration before you can even decide on stopping the whole bottle feeding process for your lambs.
Why Lambs Are Bottle Fed
There are a number of reason why lambs are bottle fed and one of the popular reasons is death or illness of the ewe. In such scenarios it is very important to start by bottle feeding the lamb using colostrum. Another reason why lambs are bottle fed is because of health related problems experienced during birth. In such cases you have to put the lamb in a warm environment before you can start bottle feeding it. This will help to calm that lamb thus, causing it to focus more on itself. An ewe can also reject its lamb and this usually forces owners to start bottle feeding their lambs. Ewes that reject their lambs usually lack mothering instincts or they would have experienced a lot of trauma during birth. Therefore, it is the owners mandate to take care of the lamb until it’s strong enough to survive on its own. The last reason why lambs are bottle fed is because the mother/ewe might not be producing enough milk for the lambs. In order to reduce malnutrition of the lamb, owners need to resort to bottle feeding.
When To Stop Bottle Feeding Lambs
There are a number of factors you need to take into consideration if you are looking to stop bottle feeding your lambs. For starters you should gauge their weight. You can only stop bottle feeding lambs when they have gained 3 times their birth weight. This is important because, by this time the lamb would have developed its rumen and it would be able to digest solid foods. If you are not sure about the exact weight of your lambs when they were born then you will have to stop bottle feeding the lambs when they are between 6 to 8 weeks old. If you use this option then you will need to make sure that your lambs have reached a weight of 45 pounds or more before you stop the bottle feeding process. This is because if they are below 45 pounds, there is a chance that the rumen would not have fully developed, thus they can experience difficulty in transitioning to solid feeds. The last thing to take note of is that once you wean a lamp it will have to survive on eating solid foods and water, thus it is important to introduce it to these foods before you stop the whole bottle feeding process.
How Do You Wean A Lamb Off The Bottle?
Weaning a lamb off the bottle can be a daunting task especially if you are a beginner. However, before you can wean your lamb make sure that you have introduced it to a diet of grass or hay a week or 2 before you wean it. You can introduce grass and hay when the lamb has gained 3 times its birth weight or when it’s between 6 to 8 weeks. This is because, the rumen of the lamb would have developed thus, making it easier to digest solid foods. Another trick to use when weaning a lamb off the bottle is to reduce milk consumption of lamb 4 to 7 days before actually weaning it. This helps to ensure that the lamb slowly adopts to not getting milk and adopts more to eating grass, hay and water. With time your lamb will adjust to not having milk as part of its diet.
At What Age Do Lambs Start Eating Grass?
Lambs will start eating grass between 4 to 8 weeks. However, it’s important to wait up until they are about 6 weeks before introducing them to a diet of grass. This helps to give the rumen enough time to develop and it reduces the chances of your lamb having digestive problems. Another rule of the thumb is to wait up until your lamb has gained 3 times its birth weight before introducing it to a diet of grass.
How Many Times Does A Lamb Need To Be Bottle Fed?
The number of times a lamb needs to be bottle fed is dependent on its weight and also its age. However, the general rule is that a lamb should be fed 20% of their body weight. If you do not have a scale to constantly do the math here is a quick guide.
- 1 to 2 day old lambs should consume 4 to 6 ounces of milk 4 times per day.
- 3 to 7 day old lambs should consume 8 to 10 ounces of milk 3 times per day.
- 1 to 2 week old lambs should consume 12 to 14 ounces of milk 3 times per day.
- 3 to 6 week old lambs should consume 16 to 20 ounces of milk 2 times per day.
- 7 to 8 week old lambs should consume 20 ounces of milk 2 times per day.
What Do You Feed A 2 Week Old Lamb?
A 2 week old lamb is fed milk. This is because the rumen will still be developing and as a result, the lamb can only digest milk.
What Do You Feed Orphaned Lambs?
Orphaned lambs should be fed using a colostrum replacer within the first 12 to 24 hours after birth. Colostrum helps to give the orphaned lamb’s protein, minerals and other nutrients that it deserves. An orphaned lamb should receive at least 50ml of colostrum replacer within the first 12 hours after birth. After that you can move on to feeding your orphaned lamb with a milk replacer that is suitable for new born lambs.
Weaning a lamb can be stressful to both the owner and the lamb but, if you follow the guidelines provided in this article the process will be a walk in the park for you.