Raising A Premie Lamb

newborn premature lamb partially covered in hay

Raising A Premie Lamb


Two days ago on our homestead, we had the tiniest lamb get born. When I first saw this premie lamb, I wasn’t even sure if she could survive. However, I wanted to try everything I could to raise the premie lamb. She was so tiny that I named her  Pluma which means Feather in Spanish. So, how can you handle bringing up a lamb that was born too soon, but was far enough developed to survive outside the womb?

Well, I had gathered a few things in my birthing kit that were going to give my premie lamb a fighting chance.

Here’s what I had pulled together:

  • 1 syringe for feeding as the lamb was too small to suck, or an eye dropper
  • milking supplies such as a bucket and some peroxide mixed with water for milking the ewe. Also some Udder Butter to make the milking job easier.
  • A few towels for rubbing the baby down
  • A rubber lamb nipple and a pop bottle (soda bottle for those of you who term it that.) The bottle was for later feedings when she was stronger.
  • A small dog crate to keep the lamb inside the house where she would be warmer.

It helps to be prepared!

If you want to be extra sure that you are ready in case of a premie lamb, here is a great list of supplies. There is also a book I would recommend: Storey’s Guide To Raising Sheep

When I discovered the premie lamb with her mother, she was too weak to nurse, and her mother was clueless about what to do with a baby. So, I picked up the weak baby, took it inside and vigorously towel dried her while crooning to her. This is important because her circulation needed stimulation and she needed to feel loved in order to want to live.

Then, while I was rubbing the baby down, my folks were back at the barn having a wrestling match with the ewe, milking her for her colostrum. This was vital for the lamb. Once they had colostrum which is the first milk, I used a 6 ML syringe to dribble milk into the baby’s mouth while keeping her head up and level. It was slow going. She had to have just a tiny bit of first milk dripped into her mouth.

A premie lamb being fed colostrum by syringe
Pluma was so weak she had to slowly be given colostrum and let to swallow before the next tiny amount.

For every two hours over the next 24 hours, we had to give Pluma colostrum with a syringe. By 48 hours from birth, she had developed a suck reflux and has now been taking the bottle with a nipple. In a few more days, she will be able to drink goat milk.

Until next time,

Homestead in Health Ya’ll!



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