Are you struggling with surplus lambs chewing on the teats of your ad-lib milk feeders? Try a few of these tips to help prevent the issue!
Top Three Tips
1. Select the right teats
Lambs typically learn how to suck quickly. Make sure that as soon as lambs are sucking strongly you are using the tougher teats (red) as they are more robust to deal with more forceful sucking and any chewing.
2. Use the correct number of teats
Too few teats, can lead to the lambs being prevented from suckling often enough, and then sucking too fast and vigorously when given access. Ensure a maximum of 10 lambs/teat for ad-lib systems - 6-8 is ideal.
3. Maintain the milk supply
It is essential that milk is always available when feeding surplus lambs ad-lib. The lambs are far more likely to chew the teats if they are not receiving the appropriate amount of milk or if the milk has run out when they attempt to feed.
Wean lambs at the correct time
Weaning lambs at the correct time is important because they start to develop teeth quickly and teat chewing becomes even more destructive. For successful weaning, lambs should be:
Quite often these three aspects will not coincide, so try to achieve at least two before weaning lambs
Offer dry feed + Water
Concentrates, roughage and water are not only essential for rumen development, but a fresh and continuous supply of concentrate and straw (in racks) also gives the lambs something else to do, prevents boredom and satisfies the lambs desire to nibble and chew.
Reduce the temperature of the milk
It is recommended that new-born lambs are started on milk at 30ºC, however once they have been trained and are drinking well, the temperature can be reduced to 18 – 20ºC. Reducing the milk temperature will help to prevent gorging on the milk, and also encourage the intake of dry feed and roughage – taking the focus off the teats!
Ensure bedding is dry, warm and inviting
This will encourage lambs to relax and be content.