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Preparing for Lambing Rogers Veterinary Service

and Kidding Season

1. Highest death rate occurs during this time period

a. Most common causes of death
i. Suffocation (due to difficult births and being laid on), cold body temperature,
starvation, infectious disease
2. Be prepared!
a. Know what to expect
b. Have clean, dry, sheltered area ready
c. Have appropriate supplies on hand.
i. Long plastic gloves, obstetric lube, chlorhexidine or povidone iodine solution, scissors,
small container for dipping umbilical cords, BOSE (prescription required), vaccine
(CDT), ID tags, syringes, needles, towels, heat lamp, bottles, frozen colostrum (good
for 6 months), bottles with nipples, 50% dextrose, stomach tube, thermometer,
notebook for records, weigh scale
3. Care of the dam just before giving birth (last third of pregnancy)
a. Average gestation length= 150 days
b. Give clostridium C&D/tetanus (CDT) vaccine , BOSE, coccidiostat, & deworm 3 wk. before due
i. Consult veterinarian on proper deworming protocol
c. Assess Body Condition Score (BCS)
i. Energy demands of fetus greatly increase
ii. Need high quality nutrition and increased carbohydrate
d. Pregnancy toxemia
i. Energy intake is not sufficient to meet increasing demands of pregnancy
ii. Signs: inappetence, separation from the herd, unwillingness to move, aimless
wandering, lethargy, jaw champing, salivation, star-gazing, head pressing, apparent
blindness, tremors, recumbency, coma and death
iii. Treatment
1. Very difficult, without removing fetus (induce birth)
2. Better to prevent
iv. Prevention
1. Prevent pregnant animals from becoming too thin/fat (Ideal BCS=5-6/9) during
first two thirds of pregnancy
2. Feed high energy feed during last third of pregnancy
4. Lambing/Kidding
a. Three stages of labor
i. First stage
1. Restless, vocalizing, pawing at ground, laying down/getting up repeatedly
2. Can last 12 hours
ii. Second stage
1. Visible contractions and birth of lambs/kids
2. Should last less than 2 hours
3. Need to assist with birth if longer than ½-1 hour of hard labor with no success
iii. Third stage
1. Passing of the placenta
2. Should occur within 4 hours, considered retained if still present at 12 hours
b. Important to be present for birth if possible
i. Allows early intervention if birthing assistance is needed
5. Care of the newborn
a. If necessary, stimulate breathing
i. Clear membranes from nose and mouth and rub lightly with towel
ii. If no response, gently swing upside down in an arc
b. Snip, dip, strip, sip
i. Trim umbilicus, dip umbilicus in chlorhexidine or povidone iodine, strip wax plug from
teats, allow or assist (if needed) with nursing
ii. Should stand and nurse within 15-60 minutes
c. Colostrum
i. First milk rich in energy and proteins necessary to fight disease
ii. Should consume approx. 25 ml colostrum/lb body weight within the first hour after
birth, 100 ml/lb in first 24 hours
iii. Use CAE (Caprine arthritis-encephalitis) free colostrum
iv. Feed via stomach tube if kid is weak and/or too cold, but can still hold head up
d. Stomach tubing
1) Sit comfortably with the lamb/kid on your lap.
2) Measure length from nose to last rib and mark on stomach tube.
3) Insert stomach tube (with no syringe attached) at the side of the mouth. All but a few
centimeters should be easily inserted.
4) Check tube to ensure it has been placed in stomach. Draw back on end of tube with
mouth or syringe, should have negative pressure if in stomach. Coughing is an
unreliable sign of correct tube placement.
5) Attach the syringe of colostrum and empty slowly.
6) Remove the empty syringe and continue with further syringes until feeding is complete.
Feeding is much easier if the whole meal is pre-syringed.
7) Gently remove the tube with the final syringe still in place.
e. Pen dam and lambs/kids separately from group to allow bonding for first few days of life
f. ID lambs/kids to match with dam for records
g. How to treat a weak cold lamb/kid? (37-39℃= 99-102℉)

(4ml/kg of 50%)
(2ml/lb of 50%)

6. First two weeks of life

a. Prevent disease
i. Ensure adequate colostrum intake and give 1 ml BOSE (under skin on neck) at birth
ii. House in clean, dry, warm area with good ventilation, avoid overcrowding
iii. Feed coccidiostat, risk increases after 2 weeks of age
b. Vaccinate
i. Unvaccinated Dam: CDT within first week; booster in 3-4 weeks
ii. Vaccinated Dam: CDT at 4-5 weeks; booster in 3-4 weeks
c. Disbudding & Tail Docking: 3-14 days of age (usually earlier is better)
d. Castrate: 3-14 days of age