Volostrum fed lambs grow at the same rate as lambs fed on colostrum – Volac

There is no difference in the performance of lambs fed ewe colostrum or a whey-based artificial colostrum, such as Volostrum, according to Volac.

A research trial carried out on the UCD Lyons Estate shows that lambs offered Volostrum in the first 24 hours of life instead of ewe colostrum grew at the exact same rates until weaning.

The trial, which featured 30 triplet lambs from the University’s 350-ewe flock, showed that the mortality level of the lambs that received Volostrum was zero.

As part of the trial, the lambs were split in two groups, with half of the lambs fed ewe colostrum at 50ml/kg birth weight at one, 10 and 18 hour intervals after birth.

The other 50% of the lambs were fed at the same intervals, with a 50g sachet of Volac Lamb Volostrum (three 50g sachets over an 18-hour period), it says.

According to Volac, all the surplus lambs were reared artificially on Lamlac ad-libitum via a Ewe-2 feeder from 24 hours, and weaned at just over six weeks of age.

Commenting on the results of the research, UCD’s Dr Tommy Boland said that the two groups of lambs recorded identical pre-weanling growth rates and nil mortality.

“This highlights that when ewe colostrum is in short supply, as is often the case with multiple births, triplet lambs can be successfully artificially reared and achieve high growth rates,” he said.


The UCD research mirrors findings from Harper Adams University, where over 30 farm studies concluded that farmers were satisfied that Volostrum was very effective as a first feed for lambs, Volac says.

Volac’s Jessica Cooke said that the findings shows that Volostrum, as a colostrum alternative, supplies a readily available source of nutrients and energy to get the young lamb up and on to its feet in those critical first few hours.

“Lamb Volostrum is based on high-quality undenatured whey proteins which have been processed under low temperature conditions that maintain the integrity of the biologically valuable globular proteins essential to the young lamb.

“In fact, a 140ml feed of ewe colostrum would provide 28g of protein, in comparison to a 50g first feed of Volostrum providing, which provides 38g of protein,” she said.