SheepWatch Issue 2 - Nov 2016
SheepWatch is a Trouw Nutrition GB publication designed to keep you up to date with the latest developments in sheep and lamb nutrition.
Lamb Feeding – Early Life Nutrition
The AHDB Beef and Lamb Stocktake report (2015) stated that for the average producer, 7% of lambs born alive are lost in the period from birth to rearing. When considered alongside lamb losses before birth and the number of empty ewes (on average 5.8%), the reduction in potential output could be significant.
When rearing lambs, business success means balancing a wide range of factors. At the heart of this challenge lies the need to look after young animals and improve productivity, while controlling overall workload and costs.
Ewes with multiple lambs and/or insufficient milk may necessitate the use of lamb milk replacer to achieve early life growth targets.
Colostrum is crucial
The first few hours after birth are critical for the survival of the new born lamb. Ensuring the lamb receives adequate volumes of good quality colostrum at the correct time is one of the most important factors that can influence lamb health and performance in early life.
Colostrum is a nutrient dense feed that contains a higher fat, protein and mineral content than ewe milk. Not only does colostrum provide essential nutrients to the new born lamb, it also stimulates digestive activity and contains immunoglobulins that function as antibodies to support the immune system.
Timing of colostrum feeding is critically important as lambs have a short-lived ability to absorb immunoglobulins. The cells lining the intestine begin to mature shortly after birth meaning the ability to absorb immunoglobulins significantly reduces with time, with the intestine being unable to absorb large molecules by 24 hours old. To optimise antibody absorption colostrum should be fed as soon as possible after birth, at the latest within 6 hours of birth. It is estimated that 180 – 290ml/kg bodyweight is required by the lamb in the first 18 hours after birth, this should be split into small frequent meals. For example, a 4kg twin lamb should consume approximately 940ml of colostrum within the first 18 hours of life.
Lamb milk replacers
|The first challenge for the new born lamb is to manage the transition and associated temperature change from the uterine environment to ambient temperature. Challenging weather conditions, such as wind and rain, can exacerbate heat loss.
Milkivit Lacto Lamb
Specifically designed to provide a carefully formulated product with exceptional energy density. Widening the fat:protein ratio allows the product to deliver an energy dense feed without overloading the intestine with excess protein, this can help to reduce the risk of clostridium scours.
Milkivit Lamb Traditional
A high quality skimmed milk based product that supports excellent performance and cost-effective rearing. Skimmed milk replacer still represents a significant proportion of lamb milk sales, anecdotally on farm these formulations can help to reduce digestive upset due to the slower digestion rate.
Milkivit lamb milk replacer formulations have been specifically developed using:
- Carefully selected milk solids with maximum nutritional value
- Balanced blends of vegetable fats and oils, homogenized and emulsified for maximum digestibility
- A full and balanced supplement of vitamins, minerals and trace elements including a high level of Vitamin E to support immune function and lamb vigour.
All Milkivit lamb milk replacers are acidified. Acidification aims to support a healthy gut environment which helps to reduce the risk of scouring. This acidification also allows cold mixing which is required in some ad lib systems.
Milkivit milk replacers can be supplied as free-flow formulations if required to ensure the products can suit all rearing systems.
The term lamb milk replacer denotes a wide range of products each with their own characteristics therefore it is important to understand the specifications of products on offer. Raw material digestibility, nutrient specification and balance are all aspects that contribute to the overall quality of a milk replacer.
Quality of the lamb milk replacer should be a vital consideration if this is the liquid feed of choice on farm.
Contact the Trouw Nutrition GB Ruminant Team for further information, or speak to your local supplier.