Volac Lamlac driving lamb performance on Co. Carlow-based sheep farm
Volac Lamlac was launched on the Irish market in 1977. Thanks to continual technical developments, it is still the number one choice milk replacer for sheep farmers.
Containing 24% protein and 24% oil, it is formulated to supply all the vitamins, minerals, energy and proteins for maximum lamb performance. The ultrafiltrated milk proteins are highly digestible leading to faster growth and less risk of nutritional upsets.
It also contains high immunoglobulin levels that enhance natural disease resistance and lamb health.
A recent trial at the UCD research farm at Lyons Estate compared two groups of lambs; one fed the colostrum substitute Volac Lamb Volostrum and the other fed ewe’s colostrum after birth.
Both groups were then artificially reared on Lamlac. They had pre-weaning growth of 385g/day and reached weights of just under 22kg when weaned at six weeks.
Mixing the right way
Correct mixing of Lamlac is vital to lamb performance and health, according to Volac’s Liam Gannon.
“To make one litre of feed, add 200g of Lamlac to 800ml of water. Add half the water to all of the Lamlac and whisk until smooth. Add the remainder of the water and whisk again,” he said.
“Water used to mix milk replacer should always be below 45°. Otherwise, the milk proteins, which are essential to lamb performance, will be damaged.
“When bottle feeding, mix and feed at 39°. For ad-lib feeding and automatic feeders, initially train lambs at 39° and then feed at 20°. This will help prevent over consumption. If feeding cold, mix and feed cold,” advised Liam.
Liam Gannon outlined the following formula for best Lamlac feeding practice:
- Day 1-3: One litre split into four or five feeds;
- Day 4-7: One litre split into four feeds;
- Day 7 to weaning: 1.5L split into four feeds, reducing to two feeds leading up to weaning.
“Increasing feeding volumes can lead to bloating or scouring. Where ad-lib feeding, do not let the milk replacer run out, as this will cause lambs to gorge when the feed is replenished,” said Liam.
“Also, do not reduce the concentration in ad-lib feeding as this will cause lambs to drink more and increase urination.”
Excellent performance on Carlow farm
Margaret Whelan, who farms at Ballincrea, Myshall, Co. Carlow, has been feeding Lamlac for many years and is very happy with lamb performance.
She fed 80 lambs in 2018 and around 40 this year. The lambs are bought from local farmers and are reared during January and February.
They are weaned off Lamlac when they are 20-22kg. At that stage they are eating around 0.5kg of concentrate and there is no setback in thrive.
Because of the difficult spring in 2018, she continued to feed the lambs indoors and sold most of them out of the shed. They reached the 38-40kg sale weight at 12 to 14 weeks-of-age.
Margaret has used Volac EWE2 feeders for the past two years and this has really simplified and streamlined the operation. Lambs perform much better and the labour involved has reduced substantially.
“It’s very easy to train them on the feeder and they start eating pencils from an early age.”
The EWE2 has a 25L capacity and rears up to 20 lambs with the standard mini-suckler. The EWE2 Plus has a 50L capacity and rears up to 40 lambs.
Margaret’s husband Michael has a job off-farm, so the bulk of the daytime work is left to Margaret. They also lamb a flock of 60 ewes and run a beef enterprise, rearing weanling heifers to beef.
Happy with the switch to Lamlac
Seamus O’Leary switched to Lamlac a number of years ago and is very happy with how lambs perform. He runs a flock of 370 ewes at Doire-na-Buairce, Ballingeary in the west Cork Gaeltacht.
He feeds around 40 surplus lambs on Lamlac every year. After getting “plenty of colostrum”, they are moved onto Lamlac, which is fed through an ad-lib feeder.
Lambs are weaned at six-to-seven weeks. Last year, he fed an average of 10kg Lamlac/lamb. They start eating concentrate at about three weeks-of-age and are consuming around 0.5kg/day by the time they are weaned.
He finds that the lambs reared on Lamlac do as well as those reared on the ewes. “While it’s obviously more expensive, there is still a bit of money out of it,” he concluded.
Lamlac is also ideal for automatic lamb feeders which are popular in larger sheep flocks and among dairy goat producers.
It is operated from a compact control unit with a digital display enabling water and milk powder to be configured separately. It mixes a pre-set volume of powder to a consistent, specified temperature.
The inbuilt electronic regulator ensures milk replacer is maintained at the correct temperature. It also has an automatic cleaning system.