Ewe-reka: How artificially reared lambs can achieve 550g a day

Lambs reared on a ewe milk replacer together with water, creep and forage in recent trials gained an average of 550g/day in their first eight weeks – higher weight gains than twins reared on their own mother.

Ewe-reka, the only lamb milk on the market made with ewe milk, was put to the test in an automatic feeding system. Dr. Amanda Dunn, of Ewe-reka manufacturer Bonanza Calf Nutrition, says the product is ideally suited to this feeding method.

“Lambs can achieve high levels of performance,’’ she said. Ewe-reka is suitable for all feeding systems and can be mixed with warm or cold water, Dr. Dunn advised.

Ewe-reka is the safest and most natural product for rearing surplus lambs as it contains antibodies specific to sheep diseases. As it tastes and smells like ewe milk it encourages a strong drinking reflex in lambs.

A combination of ewe milk, specific vegetable oils and plant extracts minimise clostridia bloat and scour in young lambs.

Feeding systems

Feeding systems for artificially rearing surplus lambs vary from farm-to-farm according to flock size, labour and budgets for feeding equipment and housing.

Cold ad-lib feeding is a very cost effective and simple feeding method for rearing artificial lambs, said Dr. Dunn.

“A bucket, two teat lines and a non-return valve is the only equipment required for this system to operate and the only labour is the mixing of the milk,’’ she explained.

Dr. Dunn highlighted the fact that many farmers using this system are finishing the orphan lambs at the same time as their singles reared on their mothers.

“Using this method, lambs can feed little and often, which reduces risk of digestive upsets such as bloat.’’

There are also lower levels of bacteria build-up in cold milk compared to warm. Some bacteria that cause digestive upsets prefer warm milk, so it is best to turn the temperature down on automatic feeders for this reason.

“Lambs can achieve live weight gains of 300-400g per day on this system and can be finished at 100 days on ad-lib concentrates,’’ said Dr. Dunn.

Generally, lambs are easily trained to feed from artificial teats, she added. “Quite often untrained lambs will observe trained lambs, which encourages suckling.’’

Good hygiene must not be overlooked, whatever the feeding system, as avoiding a build-up of disease is key to successful lamb rearing. Irrespective of the system, consistency in milk temperature, concentration, volume and time of feeding are important too.

Dr. Dunn advises offering lambs clean water, fresh creep feed and forage in the first few days of life.

“Ideally, lambs should be eating at least 200g of high crude protein concentrate for three consecutive days before weaning. This is important to avoid risking a growth check once lambs are taken off milk. In addition to dry feed intake, lambs fed ad-lib should be at least 35 days old, weigh 15kg and thriving before weaning.’’

Ewe-reka is available in 5kg, 10kg and 20kg pack sizes.

Further Information

For more information on Shine Ewe-reka, contact Bonanza Calf Nutrition at: 0429-336001.

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