Colostrum is often described as ‘liquid gold’ as the fuel for life. One secret to rearing healthy lambs, and for future production, is to make sure each lamb receives enough colostrum. Ad-lib feeding can often see lambs perform and grow better than they would had they been left on their mothers.
As a guide 50ml per lamb in the first 6 hours, 200ml in the first 24 hours, should ensure adequate antibody absorption to provide the immunity needed for the first few weeks of life.
Born with no antibody, a failure to consume sufficient colostrum in the first 24 hours will leave a lamb with little ability to fight infection in early life. Research has shown lower levels of colostrum results in poorer growth and increased mortality. Ensuring all lambs receive enough good quality colostrum is the single most important factor in reducing losses from hypothermia and disease.
The key to good quality colostrum starts during pregnancy. Ewes must be appropriately vaccinated and receive adequate nutrition in order to mount an immune response needed to manufacture antibodies in colostrum and remain healthy themselves. Good condition prior to lambing will reduce the incidence of pregnancy toxaemia and encourage good colostrum quality and yield. Pay attention to minerals such as selenium, zinc and vitamin E as these are vital components for good immune function.
If colostrum is short the alternatives include:
1. Foster ewe
2. Frozen ewe colostrum, thawed slowly below 55°C (not microwaved!)
3. A high quality colostrum replacer such as Volac Lamb Volostrum
To keep your lambs growing well, make sure they receive plenty of good quality milk replacer such as Wynngold Lamlac.
- Concentrated milk protein – highly digestible for faster growth
- Ultrafiltered milk protein 0 natural health protection with less risk of nutritional upsets
- Instantised – easy mixing even in cold water
- Suits all rearing systems (manual/machine)
- 24% Protein, 24% Oil, 7% Ash, 0% Fibre
Ad-lib feeding can achieve greater results than leaving multiple lambs on ewes, it allows for quicker ewe recovery as well as allowing additional lambs to flourish. Wynnstay stock a number of labour-saving feeders:
- Feeds up to 50 lambs
- Heats cold milk to be fed ad-lib
- Allows lambs to grow faster than they would on the ewe
- Labour saving
- Hygienic, milk is stored cold
- For more information, click here
“As soon as they (the lambs) moved onto the Heatwave, you could see the difference. Within 3 days you could see their eyes shining, ears pricked, full of life. You could almost see them growing” – Ike Evans, Gatley Farms
- Ewe 2 Feeder feeds up to 20 lambs and has a 25 litre capacity
- Ewe 2 Plus Feeder feeds up to 40 lambs and has a 50 litre capacity
- 300W steel heater element
- Easily controlable thermostat
- Complete unit which controls flow of milk
For more information on ad-lib feeders and solutions for your business, contact your local store or Wynnstay representative.
Written by: Ceri Jones
Sheep & Beef Co-Ordinator | Wynnstay Group Plc