Lambs are usually nurtured by the parent sheep until they grow older and become independent. This natural phenomenon must not be interrupted by humans nor altered by outside forces to allow these animals live according to the dictates of nature and in consonance to their normal existence. However there are times when unfortunate events occur in their habitat and the lambs are left behind to fend for themselves. This is the time now when human intervention is necessary.
Should you encounter a baby lamb needing care and attention, do not hesitate to take it in. Here are tips on how to care for a baby lamb:
- Gather these materials that you will need in taking care for a lamb: lamb blanket, heat lamp, empty dishwashing or hand wash bottle with dispenser, milk, colostrum and improvised lamb bed.
- Try to gather colostrum from the ewe's (mother sheep) breasts to use in feeding a newborn lamb. However if the mother is gone, try to look for another ewe that has just given birth. Squeeze its first drops of milk on a clean bucket. Much like with humans, colostrum refers to the first secretion from a mother's mammary glands following childbirth. Colostrum is known to provide newborns with protection and immunity from certain diseases. Colostrum must be extracted within 24 hours after the ewe has given birth. If you tend to flocks of sheep in your farm, you might as well extract colostrums from ewes that have just given birth and stock them in the freezer so you have something to use for motherless baby lambs. If this is not possible, you can also buy frozen dried colostrums from livestock suppliers.
- Ensure the quality of the colostrums and other milk formulas for the baby lamb. To avoid spoiling, freeze unfinished feedings to be given for the next meals. Just make sure you warm the milk by submerging the bottle in hot water before you feed it to the baby lamb.
- Use an empty dishwashing or hand wash bottle (with dispenser) in feeding the baby lamb. It might be difficult at first for the lamb to suck from a baby feeding bottle, so you just squeeze or pump the milk in its mouth with the bottle dispenser. When the lamb has learned to take the milk and realizes it has good taste, switch to a baby feeding bottle with rubber nipple.
- Feed the lamb like you would feed a human baby. Gather it in one arm while holding the milk bottle with your other hand. Gently prod the lamb to open its mouth by slowly inserting the snout of the bottle into its mouth.
- Give the lamb enough heat to warm its body. Let it lie down in a cozy nook and cover it with blanket. Since it is still newly born, its wool may not have grown sufficiently enough to keep away the cold.
- Provide more warmth to the baby lamb with the use of a heat lamp.
- Feed the baby lamb with just enough amount of milk formula. You can use any milk formula for humans. For each feeding, mix an equal amount of milk and water. For instance, with every three ounces of water, dilute three equal parts of milk.
- Slowly encourage the lamb to graze in the outside when it is big enough to roam around and mingle with the rest of the flock.
To ensure the baby lamb's survival, consult a veterinarian. Let the lamb get its vaccination shots and other health care procedure. Release it from your care after three or four months in which stage the baby lamb is mature enough to be on its own.