Lambing & Kidding


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This presentation on lambing and kidding was given by Dr. Mara Mullinix at the 2013 Lambing & Kidding School held in Keedysville, Maryland.

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Lambing & Kidding

  1. 1. LAMBING AND KIDDING: What’s normal and what can go wrong! Mara L. Mulllinix D.V.M.
  2. 2. CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT  Clean, dry, low humidity, low ammonia, and eliminate draftiness!  Lambing jugs, or pens to alleviate mismatching of lambs/ewes after lambing.  +/- Heat Lamps  Can be an open front shed, old bank barn, an area made of bales , or a state of the art building designed by the best Agricultural engineers.. ..ultimately it is going to be up to the EWE and YOU!
  3. 3. EWES…WELL PREPARED  Well nourished ewes but not overly!!!  Obesity of the ewe is a huge factor in difficult labor… second only to a huge overfed unborn lamb! You’ve all see the big beautiful .. but not well doing, Mr. DUH lamb.. They can’t walk or nurse for hours!  Mismatching of the sire size to the ewe can cause dystocia especially if the head and shoulders are too big! Watch for coarse shouldered rams and.. even the ewe’s sire size can come into play.
  4. 4. MICRONUTRIENTS  Selenium..this mineral may play a role in ringwomb (non-dialating cervix) and also prolapsing of the vagina or uterus.. Kids with “rubbery” legs have been attributed to this nutrient  Calcium and magnesium are minerals which are extremely important for pregnant ewes. Hypocalcemia and hypomagnesemia are not uncommon in periparturient ewes. They present almost the same with neuromuscular signs, and probably contribute to retained placentae.  Ad libitum loose salt mineral mix during pregnancy is my preference  INADEQUATE WATER throughout pregnancy and during lactation is the most important nutrient …as it is throughout life..
  5. 5. ELIMINATE OTHER DISEASE FACTORS  Chlamydia…late term abortions, and small weak lambs can be relatively easy to eliminate from the flock by adding Aureomycin to feed or using LA 200 or similar injectable tetracycline  Deworming ewes before the last trimester  Good nutritional program  Sort ewes according to BCS, lamb numbers determined by ultrasound and experience
  6. 6. PREGNANCY TOXEMIA OR KETOSIS  Multiparous thin or obese ewes with twins +  Ewes with twins require 1.8-1.9 times more energy and protein  Inadequate nutrition due to diminished ruminal capacity because of uterine size, +/_insufficient energy dense ration  Huge glucose requirement for late term lamb growth force ewes to use fat stores leading to hepatic lipidosis and the decreased clearing of ketone bodies  Ewes with twins require 1.8-1.9 times more energy and protein  Feed refusal and neurological dysfunction leading to recumbency and even death
  7. 7. AN OUNCE OF PREVENTI ON I S WORTH A POUND OF CURE  Sort ewes according to BCS, lamb numbers determined by ultrasound ( helps with due date also) and experience of the ewe  Monitor feed intake of the ewes, diminished intake is also an early sign of lambing (24hours)  Ionophores such as monensin may also help prevent toxemia  Treatment of early cases include propylene glycol ( 60 ml. 2-3xdaily for 3 day) with oral calcium and potassium, calf electrolytes work well. May include, induction of labor, C-Section, IV dextrose, Calcium gluconate (50-100ml) SQ, and oral potassium chloride, and even insulin
  8. 8. TREATMENT (WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS)  Treatment of early cases include propylene glycol ( 60 ml. 23xdaily for 3 day) with oral calcium and potassium, calf electrolytes work well.  More advanced cases may require induction of labor, C-Section, IV dextrose, Calcium gluconate (50-100ml) SQ, oral potassium chloride, and even insulin
  9. 9. VAGINAL PROLAPSE  Probably genetic..after weaning cull the ewe and do not keep ewe lambs as replacements  Obesity is a big factor  Foot rot makes ewes lie in sternal recumbency predisposes prolapsing  Multiple births triplets>>>>twins>>>>singlet  Treat with replacement of the prolapse, may need ABC and NSAID then I prefer harnesses over Buhner stitching, d/t less pain, and ewe can lamb without stitch removal through harness
  10. 10. EARLY STAGES OF LABOR The ewe will separate herself from the flock , she may begin nesting by pawing and nickering. Other ewes may try to “steal” other newborn lambs, will try to lick them, and nuzzle or butt them
  11. 11. NORMAL BIRTH A mucus plug will appear, and the ewe may begin uterine contractions
  12. 12. TRUE LABOR BEGINS The ewe may or may not lay down, but you will begin to see more signs of labor and the ewe may vocalize more. And you can actually she her push.
  13. 13. CONTRACTIONS CONTINUE! After 2-3 hours the amniotic sac (water bag ) appears and after 30 to 60 minute the lamb’s nose and front leg appears. After 20 to 30 minutes the lamb should be born.
  15. 15. BOTH FEET DOWN
  16. 16. AFTER BIRTH The ewe will lick and clean the lambs which is a crucial time for bonding. Soon after the lambs will get up and begin searching to nurse. After 2-3 hours the placenta will pass. Do not allow the ewe to eat it. Some do, but it may cause illness and/or blockage.
  18. 18. 2 DEFINITE SIGNS OF DYSTOCIA No lamb visible after 45-60 minutes after the amniotic sac appears  After the lamb has appeared for 30 minutes and no progress
  19. 19. PROBLEM!! If labor takes more than 1 hour after the amniotic sac appears be prepared to assist with delivery
  20. 20. OH MY MYLAMBTA! Before You Are Faced DYSTOCIA..(Big Word for Difficult labor)  Having a veterinarian to call and consult is important!  Being prepared is Paramount! Have a controlled environment….. as nearly you possibly can!  Now it is up to YOU and the EWE
  21. 21. ASSISTING  Restrain the ewe, either with halter ( do not tie too high or she may lie down) or my preference, some one holding her head. Head chutes or milking stauncions also work well.  Wash the back of the ewe with disinfecting soap or iodine scrub  Apply gloves or scrub your arm  Use liberal amount of lubricant  Insert your arm slowly
  22. 22. FIGURE OUT POSITION OF THE LAMB  How many lambs?  Forwards or backwards, position of hooves, nose or tail?  If only one foot, always try to retract lamb and get both front legs  Only the tail? Follow the body to the hind legs and pull lamb backwards, steadily downward, need to clear airways.  Feet and no head? May need a snare to pull the head around
  23. 23. CALL FOR HELP  If the lamb head is too big to get through the pelvis.  If the cervix is not dialated at all  If the cervix is partial dialated and digital manipulation won’t dialate it large enough for the lambs delivery.
  26. 26. MANIPULATION First you reach under the lamb and cupping each foot with your hands, pull it out until….
  27. 27. YOU HAVE THIS!! Breach presentations are considered normal by some. Just pull downward steadily, but must remove quickly. Clean out the nose, and get any fluid from lungs!
  28. 28. QUANDRY PRESENTATION Some people will pull lambs with this presentation. I don’t recommend it, because of damage to the lamb’s shoulder and neck
  29. 29. PLEASE FIX THE LEGS Some people actually will pull lambs with this presentation. This is horrible on the lambs and on the ewe. PLEASE FIX THE LEGS!
  30. 30. THIS ONE IS TOUGH Make sure you push the lamb in. Then reach under and pull the head around. I’ve flipped ewes on their back, for some reason this helps!
  31. 31. A PUZZLE YOU CAN FIX! First you push the lamb with the head turned back in. Then, you pull the normally presented lamb. You already know how to fix the malpositioned lamb!
  32. 32. PUZZLE # 2 Someone else solve it!
  33. 33. D DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY Take every little gift like this and never take it for granted. After you have had a few wrecks, you’ll smile every time you seen this!!
  34. 34. DO NOT OVER REACT  Once the lamb is born allow the Mom to do her job.  Check the udder to make sure the teats are open  Give any ewe you have assisted an injection of antibiotic  I do not recommend dipping cords, but that is up to you!  Check them in 2 hours to make sure the lamb has nursed and is up and moving. Over caring can sometimes do more harm than good.