Premier Logo
Checking Sheep Dehydration
We’re not pinching this lamb because it misbehaved, we’re checking to see if it’s dehydrated. Learn why below.


Come see us at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC on April 9-10
and Albany, OR on June 4-5, 2016

Something to watch for this lambing season…

Dehydrated lambs can easily become dead lambs—which results in less lbs produced and less $$ in your pocket. It’s easy to miss so be aware.

Checking Sheep Dehydration
Pinch the skin along the back.
Signs a lamb may be dehydrated:
Gaunt or not well filled out.
If a twin, triplet, etc—and its sibling(s) appears healthier and stronger.
To determine if a lamb is dehydrated—
Pinch the skin along the back. After pinching:
1. If the skin lays flat, the lamb is not dehydrated.
2. If the skin stays momentarily tented or peaked, the lamb is dehydrated. Immediately tube the lamb with milk and consult your veterinarian for proper treatment.
Checking Sheep Dehydration
After pinching: If the skin stays momentarily tented or peaked, the lamb is dehydrated. Immediately treat the lamb (consult your veterinarian for proper procedure).
Causes of dehydration:
Ewe lacks adequate milk to support the lamb(s).
Larger/stronger siblings out-compete their sibling for milk.
Lamb has sharp teeth so ewe won’t let it feed.

If a lamb appears unhealthy but is not dehydrated, consult your veterinarian.

Reviving/saving dehydrated lambs

A little effort and a few extra minutes in the lambing barn can bring a down lamb back from the edge. Here are a few options to nurse lambs back to good health.

Using a tuber to hydrate a lamb

Use a Tuber to Hydrate a Lamb

Some lambs that have not taken to a nipple or lack the energy to drink may need to be fed via syringe and tube.

Tubing DO’s and DON’Ts:
If possible do not force the milk into the stomach with the plunger. We allow it to run in by gravity.
Never use dirty tubes or syringes. If practical, wash after each use.
Syringes and tubes wear out without warning. So buy replacements early.
Do not tube a lamb or kid that’s too chilled to raise its head. Warm it first.
Dip the end of the tube in milk (to lubricate it) before insertion.

How To Tube a Lamb

Udderly EZ™ Milker

Hand-milking Alternatives

Ewes have small teats that can be difficult to milk by hand. An Udderly EZ Milker takes out some of the stress of milking by doing the work for you. A few pumps creates a seal allowing the teat valve to open and release milk. The flow is not rapid, but effective.

Udderly EZ™ Milker

Stripping teats

Stripping Teats

In the cold of winter it’s possible for wax to build up at the end of the teat. Strip the teat (normal milking motion) to clear the obstruction.

Fixing sharp teeth

Fixing Sharp Teeth

If the ewe rejects the lamb, it may be caused by sharp teeth (which hurt soft teats). A few swipes of a tooth file should remove any sharp edges.

Tooth File

First time feeding orphan lambs

Feeding Orphan Lambs

We start bottle feeding orphan lambs with a Pritchard teat then switch them to a latex or rubber nipple on a bucket teat unit. Stored milk, colostrum or milk replacer fed via this method.

Lamb ‘N’ Kid Feeding Bottle

Shop by Species »
Sheep Goats Poultry Horses Cattle Deer Garden Wildlife Pigs Camelids
Questions? Call Us.
Local: 319-653-7622
Fax: 800-346-7992 or 319-653-6304
Business Hours:

Monday - Friday: 7 am - 5:30 pm CT
(January - December)

Saturday: 8am - 12 noon CT (March - September) and Closed (October - February)

Sunday: Closed

© Copyright 2016 Premier1Supplies
2031 300th Street, Washington, Iowa 52353

Contact Us