Lambs will not ‘burst’ if they’re fed 5 or 6 syringes of colostrum – Teagasc

Many farmers feel that newborn lambs will ‘burst’ if they are given five or six syringes full of colostrum, according to Teagasc.

But this it not the case and it says more harm will be done than good by feeding them less.

It recommends that lambs need 50ml of colostrum for each kilogram of bodyweight in the first six hours of life.

Then they need to be fed that amount every six hours thereafter until they are 24 hours of age, it says.

In effect, this means that a single lamb (6kg) needs 300ml (5 x 60ml syringes) or a twin lamb (5kg) needs 250ml (4 x 60ml syringes).

Many farmers feed much less than this and feel that the lambs will ‘burst’ if they are given this amount which Teagasc has said is not the case.

Are any of your newborn lambs suffering from joint ill, watery mouth or scour? Then there could be a problem with the ewe’s colostrum.

Colostrum quality and quantity is related to nutrition of the ewes in late pregnancy, with Teagasc highlighting in particular digestible undegradable protein (DUP).

It advises that the best source of DUP is soyabean meal: target 100g of soyabean meal per lamb carried in the last 10 days of pregnancy to improve colostrum quality and quantity.

If the concentrate being fed does not contain sufficient soyabean meal, then it says the best option is to sprinkle the extra soyabean meal on top of the existing concentrate.

Teagasc says that it is not a good idea to change concentrate type in late pregnancy.