How to Save Hypothermic Lambs

Bill Fosher first shared this with us in January of 2014. Here it is again to help our winter lambing readers. In winter lambing flocks, hypothermia and starvation of newborn lambs can account for nearly all of the pre-weaning death loss of lambs. It’s a serious problem that can often be minimized through careful management of the ewe flock and its environment. Even under the best management in the best environment, there will still be some cases of hypothermia and starvation in most winter lambing flocks. With attention to detail, hypothermia and starvation can be reduced to very low rates even in flocks that lamb in the dead of winter in very cold climates. In most sheep production systems, the majority of the cost of producing a lamb is already spent when the lamb is born (in the form of feed and keep for the breeding flock), so saving chilled lambs is an important way to protect your investment. Preventing it from happening in the first place is even more important. When it does happen, it’s important for shepherds to know how to recognize, treat, and, most importantly, learn from each case. In most cases, the problems that lead to hypothermia and starvation are difficult to fix during lambing. They can go back months to the level of nutrition in early gestation, or to barn design, or the availability of bedding. That’s why it’s important to keep records about the causes of any hypothermia cases. Once lambing is over, it’s easy to put those problems out

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One thought on “How to Save Hypothermic Lambs

  1. Very timely, first lambs of the year born this morning, at about 5*F. All fine, but unexpected and hypothermia definitely a concern. Their outside hay pack stays dry in the frigid weather, but it is a little crowded. We do have an inside space to keep newborns and their moms for the first day or so.

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