How to Build a Lamb Grafting Stanchion

Lamb Grafting Stanchion

Lamb Grafting Stanchion

Last year one of our ewes (Sombra) gave birth to twins — one ewe lamb (Lilly) and one ram lamb (Lincoln) — but she rejected the little boy. Whenever he tried to nurse she would put her head down and shoo him away with her horns. We milked Sombra and bottle fed Lincoln for the first day but we knew the best thing for his long-term health would be to nurse from his mother. And with 20 more pregnant ewes yet to give birth, we didn’t need the extra time commitment of bottle feeding him numerous times per day.

We had seen an article about how to build lamb grafting stanchion in Sheep! magazine (attribution will be provided when I find the original magazine) and now was the time to give it a try. A stanchion is a structure that can be used to hold the ewe in place — preventing her from turning around or seeing behind her — while providing access for the lambs to nurse from her udder. It can be used in cases like this when a ewe rejects one of her babies, or in cases where a ewe is unable to nurse and the lamb needs to be switched (grafted) to a different ewe.

Referring to the diagrams in the article (included below), we acquired the materials, cut boards, screwed them together, and had the stanchion finished in a couple hours. Sombra was, of course, not too happy about going in it, and even less happy about Lincoln nursing off of her. But the stanchion served its purpose well. Lincoln was able to nurse from his mother and we were spared the chore of having to bottle feed him.

As for materials and building procedures, the images below are pretty self-explanatory. The first image is a scan I made of the diagram in the magazine article. That shows you what materials are needed and what size pieces need to be cut. The detailed pictures of the final product show how we did it. Some parts are slightly different than the original plans but it all worked. One thing that was left out of the original diagram but is very important is the plywood floor, as you can see in the pictures of the final product. This is necessary so the ewe can’t lift the stanchion up off the ground while she’s in it.

If you click on the images below they will open higher-resolution images where you can see good detail.

The final picture shows the stanchion in use. We stacked hay bales around it so Sombra couldn’t see what was going on. This kept her more calm.

If you have any questions about how to build a lamb grafting stanchion like this one, or any comments to add to the discussion, feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy lambing!

Lamb Grafting Stanchion Diagram

Lamb Grafting Stanchion Diagram

Lamb Grafting Stanchion

Final Product – Lamb Grafting Stanchion Front View

Lamb Grafting Stanchion Rear View

Final product – Lamb Grafting Stanchion Rear View

Lamb Grafting Stanchion Side Detail View

Lamb Grafting Stanchion Side Detail

Lamb Grafting Stanchion Rear Detail

Lamb Grafting Stanchion Rear Detail

Lamb Grafting Stanchion Latch Detail

Lamb Grafting Stanchion Latch Detail

Lamb Grafting Stanchion in Use

Lamb Grafting Stanchion in Use


Video of Lamb Grafting Stanchion in use. Lincoln is in there nursing while Dawn encourages Lilly to join in.

Lilly

Lilly

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