How much milk replacer does one lamb need?
Whether you’re new to rearing sheep or a seasoned pro, lambing nutrition plays heavy on our minds, year after year. So, just how much ewe milk replacer is needed to feed a surplus lamb? Here, we break it down for you in one handy blog.
As with all aspects of young animal nutrition, there are a lot of variables, which can affect the amount of Lamlac milk formula required by a lamb one of which is age.
For a lamb under one day old, it is imperative that it receives colostrum – within the first 6 hours of birth and continued for the first 24 hours. A newborn lamb should receive 210ml of colostrum per 1kg of bodyweight. So, for example a 4kg lamb will need 840ml of colostrum.
A single lamb reared away from the ewe to weaning (at an average of 35 days of age) will require a minimum of 9.5kg of Lamlac (equating to 47.5 litres of reconstituted ewe milk replacer).
How much and how often you feed Lamlac ewe milk replacer, is dependent on the age of your lamb and your method of feeding. Lambs which are fed ad lib from a feeder or heated bucket will tend to drink more and are often harder to wean as they lack the same incentive to eat solid food, however when managed correctly these lambs are often larger at weaning.
At between one and three days of age, a lamb requires one litre of Lamlac, split across four or five separate feeds.
When bottle feeding, at between four and seven days of age, a lamb requires one litre of Lamlac, but only split over four feeds.
From days eight to 35, a lamb requires one and a half litres of Lamlac, split over four separate feeds initially - reducing to two feeds a day until weaning.
Do not increase volumes above those recommended, as lambs are susceptible to bloating and/or scouring from overfeeding.
When ad lib feeding, there are options to suit all different size flocks with heated buckets available in varying sizes (such as the Ewe2 Lamb feeder) or the Volac Eco feeder which is an automatic feeder designed to feed upwards for 40-50 lambs.
Mixing Lamlac milk replacer
To make up one litre of milk formula to the correct concentration, mix 200g of Lamlac with 800ml of water. *Do not add 200g to a full litre of water as this will create 1.2 Litres overall, which will dilute the concentration.
Water should always be below 45°C, otherwise you will damage the milk proteins essential for lamb development.
Step by Step
- Use scales to accurately measure out the correct amount of milk powder.
- Add half the water (below 45°C) to all of the powder.
- Whisk until smooth.
- Top up with water until you reach the desired volume.
- Whisk again.
- Serve at 39°C to bottle fed lambs and initially to adlib and machine-fed lambs, reducing down to 20°C once trained, in order to 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.
What else does a growing lamb need?
Lambs should have access to fresh water, roughage (straw) and a good quality creep feed at all times. They will begin to nibble on creep feed at seven to ten days of age. Offer small amounts of creep to begin with and increase as required, keeping it refreshed at least once a day to encourage intake.
What do I need to prepare Lamlac for feeding?
- Bottles & teats / automatic feeders
- Colostrum or a substitute such as Volac Volostrum
- Syringe and tube in case tube feeding is required
- Scales (to weigh Lamlac and lamb)
- Measuring jug
- Warm water
Tips for successful weaning
To ensure surplus lambs reach their potential, they should be:
- A minimum of 2.5 times their birth weight (9-10kg)
- A minimum of 35 days old
- Eating 250g of solid feed per day for 10 days beforehand
Abrupt weaning is recommended because it reduces the risk of digestive upsets associated with gradual weaning.
Don’t forget lambing is a busy time, so ensure you have enough hands on deck, a big flask of tea, good lighting and take some time out wherever you can.
For more details about Lamlac and our other lamb nutrition products, click >>> here