One of my sheep gave birth to twins three days ago. The vet had to help get the first out as his legs were tucked back (we are new to lambing) but once out he was fine and both lambs began to suckle. Aside from those first few hours though I am not seeing them feed that much and am worried they aren’t getting enough. They are inside but in a large communal pen.
Jack Smellie says: The first thing to ask is have you seen the ‘lamb stretch’? This is when a lamb gets up after a sleep or rest, arches its back and does a lovely big tummy stretch. That is a really good sign a lamb is fit, healthy and getting enough milk. Similarly, if you put your hand under their tummy, it should feel warm and rounded. After three days, if they weren’t getting enough milk, they would be looking hunched and poorly. I expect they are actually fine. It may be worth you penning all three on their own for a few days. Check the ewe’s teats to make sure the milk is flowing and they are easily accessible and clean. Also check the lambs’ mouths just to double check they are not sore or have anything stuck. If you feel they are empty, you can try to open their mouths and put the teats inside. A bit of honey or sugar on your finger can help a lamb start to suckle plus tickling their bottoms! If the ewe isn’t backing off the lambs should suckle quite easily. If hungry, lambs are ‘programmed’ to look for milk just as much as mum is ‘programmed’ to provide it. At this stage it is ‘little and often’ so you may well be missing when they do feed. Once you know a lamb has found the teat on its own, there really is no reason it shouldn’t again. * With thanks to Hannah Whyman-Naveh and George Peto.