when do lambs start drinking water

When Do Lambs Start Drinking Water? How Much To Give Them

Spread the love

Newborn lambs come into the world as docile, fragile creatures with delicate digestive systems. Yet, in their early lives, they rely heavily on fluids, hence the question, when do lambs start drinking water?

Healthy lambs start taking water from the day of delivery. At this stage of their lives, their digestive system can only digest fluids like milk and water. Therefore, clean drinking water is a must for new lambs and should be provided from day one. 

Apart from that, place the water at a comfortable height within reach of these fragile creatures.

Exercise caution if you plan to water them in a trough so they don’t drown. I recommend getting this stainless steel waterer bowl for your lambs as it’s small in size and much safer.

This post dives deeper into the topic, helping you ensure you care for your lambs properly, beginning with knowing when and how much water to give them.

when do lambs start drinking water

What Age Can Lambs Drink Water?

Rearing newborn lambs can be a pleasant and gratifying experience, and it’s a splendid method to boost flock size.

But it will only be a rewarding venture after considering a few things, one of them being when to hydrate your lambs and keep them hydrated.

Due to the nature of their digestive systems, lambs can only handle fluids, such as colostrum and milk. Water is equally essential to keep the lamb hydrated, and baby lambs can drink water on delivery day.

Clean water is unquestionably vital for your lambs’ survival and growth. Consequently, ensure your lambs have access to clean drinking water from the day of delivery.

Lambs are fascinating creatures that quickly learn to take water, especially when there’s a shortage of green feed.

Therefore, you should ensure they can access clean and room-temperature water to avoid dehydration at the weaning stage.

Furthermore, place adequate water in proper-sized containers and at a comfortable height within reach of the lambs. Alternatively, a weaning paddock could also come in handy in this situation, albeit you will have to guide the lambs to them to prevent stress.

That’s not all; you can pour water in troughs and lead the lambs to hydrate. However, continuous monitoring is essential until the lambs drink to their satisfaction, besides keeping drowning instances at bay.

Moreover, consider administering the correct dosage of water medications to ensure the lambs take enough water.

Animal experts also recommend multi-species electrolytes to help your lambs stay hydrated and cope with stress.

READ ALSO: Will Sheep Drink from Running Water? (Is It Safe?)

What Affects Lamb Water Intake?

The amount of water your newly born lambs consume daily depends on the following:

Water Content In Their Feed

Whether the lambs require extra water may depend on the moisture content of the foodstuff. In this case, you’ll have to consider where, when, and how to shelter them.

All lambs in indoor confinement with dry feeds must be able to access a continuous water supply, irrespective of temperature.

The case may be different while giving forage inside, but professionals strongly recommend always supplying water when feeding indoors.

So consider what type of room and feed alternatives you’ll provide your lambs. Then, ensure they have sufficient on-demand water to keep hydrated.

Weather Conditions

When it’s hot outdoors, animals take water to keep cool. Lambs are no exception; they will take more water in hot weather than in cold weather.

However, it might be challenging to provide more water when the temperatures fall below zero.

In any event, hot weather necessitates increased water consumption for young sheep.

Conversely, cold weather means less water consumption since your lambs can supplement water consumption with dew.

Remember, lambs have delicate digestive systems and need more liquid food than hard solid ones.

READ ALSO: 8 Ways To Tell When A Sheep Is Close To Lambing| Watch Out For These Signs

Physical State of The Lamb

A healthy lamb will consume between 0.5-2 liters of water per day, depending on whether they are weaning or nursing. If your lamb takes less than this, chances are it needs attention.

Condition of The Water

Apart from moisture content in the feed, weather, and the physical state of the lamb, the quality of water also determines how much water the young, docile animal will consume.

Lambs lower their water and fodder intake if the water quality is poor (untreated water, and that with hazardous chemicals and tastes awful).

Furthermore, dirty water exposes lambs to algae that can lead to illnesses and toxicity complications.

Sheep drinking water in a bucket at a farm

How Can You Tell If Lamb Is Dehydrated?

Lambs need constant access to clean drinking water to stay hydrated. However, the less privileged ones will exhibit signs of dehydration if the problem goes on for a while.

Check for the following signs in case you suspect dehydration kicked in.

Color of The Urine

Discolored urine and reduced appetite are symptoms of dehydration in lambs. As dehydration goes from minor to moderate to severe, the urine turns from yellow to orange and then brown.

On the other hand, a well-hydrated lamb will have clear urine.

General Demeanor Of The Lamb

Lambs that are severely dehydrated may look gloomy or anxious, with sunken eyes. You should note that feces consistency is an inaccurate predictor of hydration status.

For example, highly dehydrated lambs with enteritis may experience diarrhea, but well-hydrated ones fed on a poorly digestible diet may experience constipation.

Skin Pinch Test

A skin wrinkle induced by pinching your lamb on the side of the neck can detect dehydration. In well-hydrated lambs, the time delay between the time you release the pinch and the time the wrinkle fades is only a few seconds.

Do this while examining urine color and the recession of the eyeball into the orbit. However, the findings of the pinch vary based on the body condition of the lamb, breed, pressure, and the length of the pinching.

In addition, perform regular pinch tests to detect changes in the lambs’ hydration status.

How Often Do Lambs Need Water?

Now that we already have the answer to when do lambs start drinking water, how often should you give water to your newborn lambs?

Given the importance of water, lambs require it as much as feasible- so it’s better to leave it within their reach.

Lambs aged 2-7 days should take 500-700ml daily while 1-2 weeks old ones should drink 720ml-1L. Young sheep aged 2-3 weeks should take 1-1.5L daily, whereas 3-4 weeks old should consume 1.5-2L.

Although several variables influence lamb water requirements, always offer sufficient water to them.

People Also Ask

1. Do New Lambs Need Water?

Lambs under 30 days old require a liquid diet until they clock 60 days. After about 30 days after birth, they will start chewing lamb ration pellets.

Animal experts recommend providing fresh drinking water in a bucket for the young sheep and ensuring they can access it readily.

2. How Much Water Does A Lamb Drink A Day?

The amount of water lambs take in a day depends on the moisture in their diet, environmental conditions, and health status. With that in mind, provide 1/2 to 5 gallons of water daily.

Water consumption in lambs is also contingent on whether they are nursing or weaning.

3. Do Lambs Need Water?

Lambs should always have access to clean drinking water, premium creeps feed, and straws stored in racks. Refresh the creep feed daily to stimulate intake.


When do lambs start drinking water? We have established that lambs should start taking water from the day of delivery because of their delicate digestive tracts. As they grow, their daily water consumption will vary between 0.5-2 gallons.

In addition, the moisture content in their feed, weather conditions, water quality, and the physical state of the lamb would determine lambs’ water consumption.


How Long Do Sheep Stay Pregnant? Everything You Need To Know

Can Sheep Eat Bread? Find Out Here

Do Sheep Bite Humans? How Common Is It?

Do Sheep Attack Humans?  (Things To Know!)

Spread the love