Watery lamb disease is caused by E Coli bacteria. New born lambs are usually affected between 12–36 hours after birth. The condition is also known as ‘rattly belly’ and signs of the disease are salivation, lethargy, bloating and a reluctance to suck.


Oral rehydration therapy is needed 4 times a day at a rate of 50mls per kg. Also, oral antibiotics can be used in early stages. Always seek veterinary advice on use of oral or injectable antibiotics. With antibiotic resistance becoming a big concern, treatment with antibiotics should be avoided if possible.


Try to ensure correct body score of ewes pre lambing with correct nutrition to provide  quality colostrum. Make sure that all lambs suck within two hours and if multiple lambs born, ideally supplement with a good quality colostrum. Lambs should receive 50mls per kg within two hours of birth and 200mls per kg within 24 hours of being born.

Try to ensure that all lambing areas are clean and dry and that lambing pens are disinfected during changeover. Also if treating lambs with ‘Watery Lamb’ either use different equipment such as tubes to that used on healthy lambs.

watery lamb