Most ewes, especially those that have lambed before, can cope well with triplets and increase their maternal licking with the birth of each lamb. They will form a new bond with each lamb and appear to be able to count to at least three, as they will recognise when one lamb is not there.
Triplet lambs are generally smaller and slower to stand and suck, which makes them more vulnerable to hypothermia and starvation. They also take longer than other lambs to learn to recognise their mother, and so risk being left behind or getting lost. This means mortality in larger litters is higher than for singles or twins.
Be prepared to provide extra care for multiple lambs. They will likely require additional colostrum and special attention to keep them warm. Try to utilise excess colostrum from other ewes in the flock rather than powdered colostrum if possible.
See here for more information on this topic with thanks to Professor Cathy Dwyer for technical content delivered under the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Project – Live Lambs – funded by Scottish Government and delivered by SAC Consulting.
Poppy Frater, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up to the FAS newsletter
Receive updates on news, events and publications from Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service