Introducing Water, Creep Feed and Roughage
Lambs are born with an immature digestive system, so in very early life they can't digest anything but milk. How and when should you introduce water, creep feed and roughage?
Water: provide access to fresh, clean water from day one, and at a height which is easily accessible to lambs at all times.
Creep feed: top quality creep feed should be introduced from one week of age, and offered fresh at least once a day. Refusals can be fed to the ewes.
The objective here is for lambs to effectively develop their digestive system - specifically the rumen, so that when they are weaned and the milk portion of the diet removed, they will be able to match their energy requirement solely from solid feed. This will prevent any set back in growth or performance. We'll take a detailed look at weaning in a few weeks time, however as a guide, lambs should be a minimum of 35 days old, consuming 250g solid feed per day and weigh 2.5 times their birth weight (9-10kg).
Roughage: introduce to racks clean, dry straw - preferably barley. Don't feed ad-lib roughage for example, hay, during milk feeding as this can depress concentrate intake and delay weaning.