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Topic-icon 17 day old lamb fighting against bottle

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2 months 1 day ago #544572 by Si

Please help, iv a 17 day old lamb which I got from 4 days old (as mum had little to no milk). He has always had problems with the bottle and I have had to give half to third of milk by slowly syringing into mouth. But now he is fighting violently against this too. He got diagnosed with a heart problem at a week old and is on half a tablet a day for this.
On about 5 occasions he has drunk a feed well if somewhat slowly 30 mins for 75ml. So I know he can suck and he can drink even though I have always had to put the teat in his mouth. It is not the teat as my other orphan lamb (who took 10 days to start feeding well) feeds from the teats no trouble.
Iv done everything from hiding bottle in dogs fur, other lambs fur (haired sheep) scratching bum, back and head. Letting my dog lick his face (which is what worked with my other one). Keeping my finger in his mouth to encourage sucking! He needs to start drinking larger amounts but it is taking an hour to get the 75ml down. It is exhausting for him and am worried the fighting will have a bad effect on his heart. Please help!

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2 months 1 day ago #544573 by Kilmoon

Si, is this Henry or his 'new' brother? It's going to sound nuts but does he drink water out of a bowl with no issues? If so, try getting him to drink his milk from a bowl rather than a bottle. I had our commercial farmer neighbour tell us about one abandoned lamb of theirs that refused the bottle, but they were able to get it to drink from a bowl. I don't know how they did it but you could always try by holding a bowl up to his muzzle and see if he'll dip in and start drinking.

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2 months 1 day ago #544575 by Si

Hiya no not Henri, he is now doing fine and over 4k. Have found a new vet who really helped him. Hes new friend buxton, he also will not drink water by bowl or bottle so very worrying. He is only 3.2 k and needs to increase milk intake. He suckles Henri and Archie the dog but only occasionally suckles bottle rest of time, im restraining him and dripping 1-2 ml at a time!!!

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2 months 1 day ago #544576 by Kilmoon

Good to know that Henri has virtually doubled in weight! As for Buxton... I know you've said he suckles at Henri and Archie, but if you slip your finger in his mouth does he have any suck reflex on that? Have you tried other teats with different flow rates (i.e. larger or smaller holes)? The new vet, does he know how to tube feed a lamb?

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2 months 1 day ago #544577 by Si

Yep he sometimes suckles my finger, so he can suck. Also maybe one in every 8 feeds he drinks fine if somewhat slowly from the bottle. But the rest of the time (like his last feed) to get 75ml down has taken one hour of slowly syringing in between him pulling away like a strong donkey!!! He is on 100ml of electrolyte each day which is normally a better feed
I use different techniques during a bad feed
different teats (the new vet had a selection)
I got some new pichard teats delivered today and done different cut for flow
sticking my finger in for him to suckle and dripping in
putting my finger in at the side and sliding teat in
waggling teat about
putting syringe in side and slowly dripping
putting syringe in top of mouth and doing one drip at a time
Adding fresh goats milk 25 ml to 50ml replacer
using a bunny bottle with ball valve
wrapping bottle in fake fur which I have put on Henri to wear to get his smell on it

Nothing works for more than a5 to 10 ml If im lucky

Henri had his problems with getting used to the bottle but nothing like this and not for two whole weeks. I do feel like Buxton is now running out of time :-( If he was drinking water it would not be as critical but just wont. I bottle feed 1 ml of water in between feeds in hope he will get the idea

Plus side I did take Henri to vets with what I thought was bloat, previous vet said he was fine and not to worry. I found a different vet the following day as he vomited a green liquid (yes very bad news) but the new vet got Henri back on track. His only problem now is feeding too quickly, which I have to regulate. If he drinks more than 150ml a time he gets in discomfort. But as he is putting on weight and full of beans we are just having 6 feeds a day, as that is what Buxton is having.
Added note, my phone is strange and will not let me do capital B in any format so if its a small b im using phone and B my computer lol

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2 months 1 day ago #544579 by Kilmoon

LOL, so you've basically tried everything from the sounds of it. The only thing I can think of (and this is to get a meal into the little guy to keep him going) is to check with the vet if they know how to tube feed a lamb (basically insert a tube direct into his stomach and pour his milk in). The issue with that method is if you don't know what you're doing you could get the milk into the lungs instead. How warm is the milk? Maybe letting it cool to the cold side might help? At this stage, it's just battle on, but yeah he needs a lot more.

I've never had a lamb that I haven't managed to get to take a bottle...eventually. I did have one young chap years ago, that I had to supplement feed as the mum got ill and her milk basically dried up), the lass took to the bottle like a piranha (once she realised milk was in it) whilst her brother fought the entire time. It took about two or three weeks to get him to the stage that he wouldn't struggle too much when the bottle went in his mouth - but he was never a happy chap about it; his sister was like "GIMMEEE NOW" when she saw me.....mum was a tad bemused by it all I think. All I can suggest is ask the new vet if they know how to stomach tube feed, and keep persevering. Good luck.

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2 months 1 day ago #544580 by Si

its been two weeks so far! Not sure about tube feeding he would have to go to vets at least four times a day. Im going every few days already which causes stress to the little thing. Henri on the other hand enjoys car ride and having free run at vets. I ll just keep on and hope we both get through like (hopefully) Henri has.

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2 months 1 day ago #544581 by LongRidge

Does the goat milk taste the same to you, every time that you get a new lot? Goats milk can sometimes taste "goaty", and sometimes not.
Does the water that you are using change in flavour?
In NZ a few years ago we had a problem with the milk powder suppliers altering the way that the powder had been made and not telling us, which caused all sorts of problems for the lambs that we were bottle feeding :-(. They did not like the change in flavour.

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2 months 1 day ago #544587 by Si

As i hate milk from any creature i cant tell you. but Henri loves the replacer now and my water is from a well and boiled. Just got to get buxton loving it very soon ! Last nights feed i cheated and did elecro instead which was fine for 7ml sucked away, then battle comenced.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #544613 by Si

Little bit of good news
This evening Buxton took (unaided) a 5 second drink of water from a bowl and had his first play/bounce.
I got his age wrong in title he is actually three weeks old tomorrow and going for a check up and weigh with Henri. I know it is a small step but if he can get water down it is a start :-)

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1 month 3 weeks ago #544621 by Kilmoon

That is good. You could try a bowl with some milk in, leave it out for an hour or two to see if he investigates it and drinks from it.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #544686 by Si

Little update. buxton took 100ml of 125ml feed. OK so it took him 20 mins but apart from putting the teat in his mouth no other forcing was done. I know next one will be bad but there is hope. Vet said today he now has 50/50 chance of surviving (with heart problem) so that is improved chances and also now weighs 3.8 k birth weight 2k.
New question (vet advised not getting another young lamb because of buxtons problems) but if he makes it past weaning is 2 lambs ok or should i get a weaned lamb (once these two are living outside) to make a flock of 3? My worry is if buxton can not survive a winter if his circulation remains bad Henri will be by himself. Im sure it would easier to introduce a new lamb at 3-4 months old than waiting till next year. Any thoughts?
Henri still great and today managed to reach the top of the kitchen table. Which was cute but im sure in a few days i will find it a pain in the arse! As i also think his not far off getting ontop of the kitchen worktops!!!

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1 month 3 weeks ago #544688 by LongRidge

To Henri, you and the dog are part of the flock, so if you and the dog do not go away together for extended periods, then Henri will have company. But if you want to be able to go away for more than a few days at a time, then other company would be preferable.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #544690 by Si

crumbs what like a holiday lol no doesnt happen but if me and Archie arnt outside he will be alone for hours at a time also at night. I will not have a horned lamb in the house, two lambs is mad enough.
So if buxton survives and seeing me and Archie a few hours a day , much more from March - Dec, that will be ok?

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1 month 3 weeks ago #544692 by Kilmoon

Even though you two are part of his flock if Buxton dies (once they're both living outside) then Henri will be lonely. You could get a weaned lamb but he'll not be as friendly as a bottle fed lamb would be. So you'd have to work (ie bribe with food treats) to make him 'tame'. Not difficult, but would take time. That way Henri will have company through winter.....you can then add another bottle fed lamb next year to get a flock of three. Sheep do better as a flock.

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