Ewe with very little milk

A place to exchange ideas, stories, and to solve problems related to breeding the flock and delivering lambs.
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Ewe with very little milk

Postby lambs1 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:17 pm

Has anyone used equidone to increase milk production? Had ewe have twins yesterday and has very little milk. We use equidone on horses and it works great (developed for mares that have been on fescue grass and causes to have no milk). Wondering if anyone has used on sheep? Does oxytocin work well? Thanks

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Re: Ewe with very little milk

Postby tatanka » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:05 am

Is this her first lambing? Why do you think she doesn't have much milk? Are the lambs hungry? Weak? Lethargic? Just because she doesn't have a large bag doesn't mean she doesn't have a lot of milk. Because colostrum is so thick and rich unless your dealing with dairy cows, goats, sheep etc. there shouldn't be a huge amount. Even in dairy animals the the milk production comes on over a 24 to 72 hour period after birth. Oxytocin will work to "let down" her milk but not with production. If she truly doesn't have production milk lines then I would pull one of the lambs. You could try to challenge feed her.

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Re: Ewe with very little milk

Postby Muleflock » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:58 pm

Dear Lambs1
Nice to have you aboard. I’ll answer your question presuming you’re a producer in the United States. The short answer is, the use of Equidone (Domperidone) in sheep would be an extra label use of the drug allowed only under the discretion of your veterinarian. I doubt you will find a veterinarian that would jump to using this drug under the circumstances that you describe in a food animal but what do I know. (Please use the delete button here if needed)

So how does this drug work? Milk let down occurs when the level of the hormone Prolactin elevates past a certain level in the blood. Dopamine secreted from the hypothalamus, inhibits the secretion of prolactin as well as reducing prolactins effect at the local level. Domperidone has an inhibitory influence of dopamine at the level of the hypothalamus thereby resulting in an increased release of prolactin. Having said that, all the Prolactin in the world will not result in milk production in some sheep for reasons that would take more time than I have to write tonight.

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Re: Ewe with very little milk

Postby kris » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:35 pm

1 week into your ewe with little milk and what I have to offer might still be helpful. Any mammal's milk production is based on supply and demand, Mother Nature is very wise. The more that babies suck, the right amount of milk is produced and the right type of milk is consumed. Think about you or your wife and perhaps the children you have and breast fed.

The first milk that a mammal produces is colustrum. It's thick, important and isn't procuded in large quantities. It's like liquid gold because it's value has to do with antibody reservoirs. In humans; mother's milk comes into full production within 3 days. Any mammal, even sheep, have the some biology, full milk production doesn't happen immediately. It is a process.

If the lambs are warm and showing no signs of distress (not a raimbow style of posture) then all is well. Young ewes often don't have big bags yet their teets are very effcient. Milking a young ewe can be the most effective way to increase her milk production as she figures out mothering.

If you have a handful of sheep, as I do then this is an easy way to help with new lambs. If you have a large number of sheep then this would not be time affective for you. Perhaps others can shed more light than me.

Let us know your outcome.

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