Lamb Rearing FAQs

Lamb Rearing FAQs

1: How much labour can be saved by swapping from bottle feeding to ad lib feeding milk to lambs?


Labour costs have been recorded at £6.25 for a bottle reared lamb vs. £2.32 on ad-lib.

It’s not just the total time you save, but you can choose a time which suits you to mix the milk, not when you’re rushing to get the kids to school!

2: How much milk does it take to rear a lamb on ad lib milk?


Approx. 10-12 kg of a good quality milk mixed at 200g/litre. If the ad lib milk is stored cold, and heated up on demand there is very little wastage. Heatwave milk warmer is an affordable solution. Feeds up to 50 lambs.

3: What is the earliest I can get lambs on to dry food?


Its most important to have ad lib milk, ad lib water, and a small amount of fresh ad lib grain/creep feed available from Day 3. Straw or stalky hay is better than sweet meadow hay.

Lambs can be weaned abruptly at 35 days old provided they are eating 250g of creep feed and/or they are 2.5 times their initial birthweight. Stepping milk down gradually encourages gorging, it’s safer to wean abruptly. Also, the feed conversion from milk into growth is at its most efficient before 40 days old. Early weaning makes use of this efficiency, so the milk is used at the right stage of growth.

4: What is the total cost to rear an orphan lamb?


Use your local prices on these physical quantities. (approx.) 12 kg milk powder (26 lbs) and 75 kg of concentrate feed(165 lbs) + straw + water + labour. However, last year it left a margin of £25/lamb.

5: I have a set of uneven triplets, which one shall I rear on milk powder?


It’s a tricky question but generally try and rear the ‘odd one out’ on the milk powder. So if you have an even set of twins plus a big lamb, then the big lamb goes on the Heatwave. If you have 2 huge lambs and a tiny one, the tiny one goes on the milk bar. Most importantly make sure the ‘odd one out’ gets the lion’s share of the colostrum. He won’t get another chance if he’s removed on Day1 and moved straight to the pen.

6: Why do my lambs chew the teats?


Main reason is lambs are running out of milk for a few hours. Don’t let them run dry. They must have milk in front of them 24/7. Sometimes an older lamb will chew with his molars. This behaviour can be corrected by using a Teatguard. Teatguards will prevent bullying, protect the teats and encourage a good sucking technique.

7: How much time each day will it take me, to clean the lines on a Heatwave Milk Warmer?


2 minutes a day using the new Heatwave Bubble Pump! These come as standard now on new Heatwaves. Check them out here, just click the video.

Gill Dickson – Young stock advisor - Pyon Products