When, how and how much are frequent queries when it comes to feeding milk replacer to lambs. Getting this right can be the key to raising healthy, profitable lambs.
Lambs can be fed on milk replacer at around a day old following sufficient intake of colostrum. Newborn lambs should always receive colostrum as soon as possible after birth, preferably within the first 6 hours of life as their ability to absorb the antibodies in colostrum rapidly declines after this. This should be continued for the first 24 hours. When feeding newborn lambs, is it important that colostrum given is of good quality and ideally from the mother, failing this from frozen. Wynnstay offer a range of powdered colostrum to provide nutrition, energy and support when the ewe’s supply isn’t enough.
The newborn lamb should receive a minimum of 210ml/kg bodyweight of colostrum within the first 24 hours (e.g. a 4kg lamb should receive 840ml).
For more information on our range of automatic feeders, contact your local store, representative or specialist
There are many different methods for rearing surplus or orphan lambs; with pros and cons to each. The method chosen will depend on the number of lambs being reared, and facilities available.
When rearing lambs artificially in small numbers, most farmers consider bottle feeding to be the most cost effective method, but when large numbers of lambs are involved (50+) automatic feeders are a good option.
The Heatwave Milk Warmer is a cost effective and efficient way of rearing surplus lambs (and calves)
- Feed up to 30 calves or 50 lambs
- Suitable for milk powder or whole milk feeding
- Hygienic as milk is stored cold
- No machine rental fees
- No risk of broken glass heating elements
- No moving parts; increasing reliability
- Thermostatically controlled
- Healthy stock grow faster
- Labour saving
Concentration: 200g of Lamlac + 800ml water = 1L of milk*
*Do not add 200g to a full litre of water as this will create 1.2 litres overall, which will dilute the concentration, the total volume of powder and water together should total a litre.
- Day 1-3: 1 litre split into 4-5 feeds
- Day 4-7: 1 litre split into 4 feeds
- Day 7 to weaning: 1.5 litres split into 4 feeds initially, reducing to two feeds until weaning.
How do I mix the milk replacer correctly?
- Use scales to accurately measure out the correct amount of milk powder.
- Add half the water (below 45°C) and add all the powder.
- Whisk until smooth.
- Top up with water until you reach the desired volume.
- Whisk again.
What temperature should I mix and feed at?
Water used to mix milk replacer should always be below 45°C – otherwise you will damage the milk proteins which are essential to lamb performance.
- Bottle Feeding – Mix and Feed at 39°C.
- Adlib feeding and automatic feeders – initially train lambs at 39°C and once trained, feed at 20°C; as this will help prevent over consumption.
If feeding cold: mix and feed cold. Do not mix warm and allow to cool as this will encourage lambs to gorge whilst the milk is still warm.
Do I need to feed anything else alongside?
Yes, lambs should have access to fresh water, straw in racks, and a top quality creep feed at all times. Refreshing creep feed at least once a day will encourage intake.
General Feeding recommendations
- Always follow the feeding instructions on the bag
- If lambs are weak and unable to suck, they should be fed colostrum and/or a lamb milk replacer using a tube feeder
- Do not increase recommended volumes as lambs are susceptible to bloating and/or scouring from overfeeding
- If feeding adlib, do not dilute the concentration, as this will cause lambs to drink more and increase urination
- If feeding adlib, do not let the powder run out, as this will cause lambs to gorge when it is refilled
- When bottle feeding, check the hole in the teat is not too big as this can also cause bloating.*Tip the bottle upside down. If the milk is free flowing from the teat the hole is too big.*
- Clean ALL feeding utensils and equipment after each feeding: rinse in lukewarm water, wash with a detergent in hot water, rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly with a clean towel
Adapted from http://www.lamlac.co.uk/blog/91-feeding-lambs-milk-replacer-getting-it-right