Since many of us are lambing or will be soon, I thought I’d share some of the supplies we keep on hand at Hollow Hills Ranch. This is not a comprehensive list, and there’s still more I may add.
Old hand or bath towels are great to keep on hand, especially with newborn, gooey critters. They save your clothes from becoming disgusting while working with your new babies and their mamas.
There are times when you need to give the moms a hand with birthing. This means you need to lube up and go inside to find legs, turn a lamb, etc. We prefer Dawn dish soap as a lube. Any time you need to enter the sheep with your hands, it’s a good idea to give them an injection of antibiotics to prevent infection.
We use LA200, a broad spectrum antibiotic. Be warned it is an intramuscular hot-shot and will cause pain. Don’t be surprised if your sheep favors the injected leg. Needle and syringe info is further down the page.
We used to use Iodine, but with it being so hard to buy now (thanks illegal drug makers), we use Povidone or Betadine for the lambs navels. Pour it into a plastic lotion bottle, stick the navels through the top, and press it against their stomach while tipping it up. We count to 30 then take it off to coat the navel well against the nasties from the ground.
Weak lambs require the use of a tubinga kit. It includes a baby food jar for milking colostrum from the ewe into, a tube that goes into the lamb’s stomach, and a 30cc syringe that attaches to the end of the tube. You pour the colostrum into the syringe and use the plunger to gently get it in the stomach (just make sure you don’t pump air in). You can search YouTube for videos on tubing a lamb.
If we have bottle lambs, we use black lamb nipples that we thoroughly wash use scissors to cut an “X” on the tip to make a slightly bigger hole. This is dependent on the age of the lamb. Younger babies need a smaller hole so they don’t drown. Older lambs suck it down so fast, it’s easier to get air back in if the hole is a little bigger. An old Pepsi bottle (we had the smaller 7up bottles for newborns as well) works great with those nipples!
I prefer the 5cc Luer Lock Syringes, though most feed stores have what is called Luer Slip. The luer is where the needle attaches to the syringe. The luer lock prevents you from accidentally pulling off the needle. I was lucky to work in a Dr office and ordered the luer lock. You can find them online as well.
Most of the medications use the 20ga needles at the largest but I have found that the thicker fluids (such as BoSe or LA200) work better with 18ga. 1/2″ work great for Subcutaneous injections, but we like 1″ for Intramuscular ones.
We vaccinate with CD/T and the supplement BoSe (not pictured). You can obtain BoSe from the vet and is only for those areas deficient in Selenium. Lambs get both shots shortly after birth, and then a booster of CD/T at weaning. Adults get boosters of both CD/T and BoSe once a year as well (easiest to do at lambing time as the moms and babies are jugged and you have a captive audience).
Use an elastrator to castrate ram lambs and in the old days we used to band our wool lamb tails with it too. Pretty self explanatory!
We use small brass Tambra ear tags on baby lambs. We get them from Ketchum Manufacturing. They just have a number on them and are small enough to not weigh down their ears.
After weaning (and deciding who is breeding stock and who isn’t), we start placing the white Scrapie tags and the colored Registration/Recordation tags. Commercial, unregistered breeding stock typically just get the Scrapie tag and keep just the brass tag. We order these from Premier 1. Q-flex 3 are perfect for the registration tags and not huge either. We get yellow for the Registered St Croix and Orange for the Registered or Recorded Katahdins. Our scrapie tags are usually white and Q-flex 5 size.
To see what our barn setup is for lambing season, click HERE.
Read Amy’s full blog post, complete with photos, on her website.