Reducing Lamb Losses for Better Returns – AHDB

29 Jan 2018

Make sure lambs receive 50ml/kg of colostrum within the first four to six hours of life and continue
to consume it during the first 24 hours of life. In 24 hours, a newborn lamb must receive the
equivalent of 200ml/kg bodyweight in colostrum. For example, a 5kg lamb needs 1 litre of colostrum in the first day of life.

Taking in sufficient colostrum is vital to provide the lamb with essential immunoglobulins and
to protect against clostridial and other diseases, depending on the ewe’s vaccination status.
Colostrum also provides energy, proteins, vitamins and minerals. It is nutritionally complete and a
natural laxative.

Studies show that many lambs, particularly triplets and small lambs, do not receive sufficient
colostrum during the first hours of life. If extra supplies are needed, colostrum from
another ewe in the flock is ideal. Frozen cows’ colostrum can be used but discuss the risks of
anaemia with the vet. Do not overheat when thawing out frozen colostrum, as this destroys the vital antibodies.


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