Lamb rearing

lamb rearing

The lamb should be chosen no earlier than 3 days after birth but preferably 5 days after birth, this allows the lamb to have its mother’s colostrum, which gives protection against diseases and is high in both vitamins and minerals.

On occasion lambs have been rejected by their mother, orphaned or are one of triplets, in which case one is removed from the mother as she is not able to adequately feed 3 of them. In these cases, the lamb may not have received colostrum.

The healthy lamb should have a dry small navel, lively movements, and clear bright eyes. If a ram (male) is chosen, he should be whethered with a rubber ring from one week old otherwise he will possibly become aggressive as he reaches maturity. Ensure both testicles are down before releasing the ring.

Basic rearing requires:

  • 1 x 20 kg bag of milk powder
  • 2 x lamb teats
  • Collar and lead
  • Drench
  • Vaccine

All these products are available at your local Franklin Vets clinic.

Sprayfo Primo Lamb milk


Lamb milk powders are specially formulated to meet the needs of your lamb. Lamb teats that can screw onto a coke or water bottle or complete lamb feeding bottles are available from Franklin Vets. Supplement the milk with lamb or multifeed pellet. Keep your lamb moving regularly so it has access to fresh grass.

If your lamb is bright, happy and feeding but still has runny poo, check out this flyer for more info: Addressing dietary scours

Unfortunately, abomasal bloat kills up to 30% of bottle-fed lambs before weaning. If feeding big feeds 2-3x/day (as opposed to the natural 8x/day), then you are at HIGH risk & yoghurtising your milk is THE ONLY proven way to remove the risk.

Follow this link to our blog to learn more PLUS a yoghurtising recipe.

Vaccination & drenching guide

Vaccination and Drenching

If your lamb has had adequate colostrum in the first 12hrs, from a mother that has had a vaccine within 1 month of lambing, it will have 3 months of protection. It will then require a Clostridial vaccine at weaning (or 3 months), a booster shot 1 month later and once a year, thereafter.

If the mother is not vaccinated, the lamb will need a Clostridial vaccine at 2 weeks of age and a booster at 6 weeks. If your lamb is unvaccinated at the time of docking, it should also receive a Pulpy Kidney/Anti-tetanus shot.

The 6 in-1 vaccine prevents pulpy kidney disease, tetanus, black disease, malignant oedema and blackleg. If your lamb is at high risk of abomasal bloat we recommend Covexin 10 (vet only) vaccine from 2 weeks old. Follow this link for more information on Abomasal Bloat.

Once nibbling at the grass, your pets will start to pick up parasites. Drench from six weeks of age and continue every four weeks. We can help you out with what is right for your animals.

Housing Requirements

A dry, draught-free house or kennel is required. Sudden changes in temperature when it is small can cause pneumonia and it will grow better if kept warm.

Contact Franklin Vets if you have any concerns about your lamb’s health. We are happy to give advice over the phone as to whether an animal requires treatment.

Download our lamb rearing guide

Guide to safely weaning your lamb


Franklin Vets

Franklin Vets - excellence in veterinary care for dairy, farming, lifestyle, equine and household pets. BESTPRACTICE ACCREDITED NZ.