Article Text

Making the most of colostrum at lambing
  1. DJ Mellor and
  2. L Murray

Abstract

Lambs require between 180 and 210 ml colostrum/kg bodyweight during the first 18 hours after birth in order to provide sufficient fuel for heat production. Colostrum intakes of this order would usually provide enough immunoglobulins for protection against infections. Ewes which are well fed during late pregnancy produce more colostrum than their lambs need, those with singletons having enough for a second lamb, but in most underfed ewes the lamb's requirements for colostrum exceed the ewe's production. Colostrum can be readily obtained and stored for subsequent use. The yields are increased markedly when hand milking is preceded by an oxytocin injection, the intravenous dose being 5 iu and the suggested intramuscular dose being 10 to 15 iu. There is little practical benefit in milking ewes more than three times during the first 18 hours after birth.

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