Colostrum crucial for newborn lambs
Ensuring that newborn lambs receive adequate supplies of colostrum is crucial. Firstly, it is a dense source of energy and nutrients. Secondly, it is a source of maternally derived antibodies that provide lambs with passive immunity. Lastly, it is a laxative to help clean the digestive tract.
The standard recommendation is that lambs receive 50ml per kg within the first six hours of life, and 200ml per kg within the first 24 hours. Where ewes have insufficient colostrum, an alternative needs to be sought. There are a number of artificial colostrum products on the market. Cow colostrum is another alternative; however, it is recommended to mix it from a number of cows, to avoid anaemia. In addition, cow colostrum should be supplemented at a higher rate (30% more) than recommended sheep levels. Even when doing this, always try to ensure each lamb gets some of its own mother’s colostrum to facilitate transfer of passive immunity.