How much milk replacer does a lamb need?

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HOW much milk replacer is needed to feed a lamb that has to be reared away from the ewe?

As ever with young animal nutrition there are lots of variables, which affect the amount of Volac Lamlac milk formula required by a lamb, one of which is age.

Ruffins Farm :

For a lamb under one day old, it is imperative that it receives colostrum within the first six hours of birth and continued for the first 24 hours. A newborn lamb should receive 210ml of colostrum per 1kg of bodyweight. So, for example a 4kg lamb will need 840ml of ewe colostrum or Volac Volostrum.

A surplus lamb through to weaning, on average at 35 days old, needs at least 9.5kg of Lamlac. That equates to 47.5 litres of reconstituted ewe milk replacer.

How much and how often you feed Lamlac ewe milk replacer depends on the age of your lamb and your method of feeding. Lambs fed ad lib from a feeder or heated bucket tend to drink more and are often harder to wean as they lack the same incentive to eat solid food. However, when managed correctly, these lambs are often larger at weaning.

After getting that vital first feed of ewe colostrum or Volac Volostrum the lamb from day one to three needs one litre of Lamlac split across four or five separate feeds.

When bottle feeding, at between four and seven days of age a lamb requires one litre of Lamlac, but only split over four feeds.

From days eight to 35, a lamb requires one and a half litres of Lamlac, split over four separate feeds initially – reducing to two feeds a day until weaning.

Do not increase volumes above those recommended as lambs are susceptible to bloating and/or scouring from overfeeding.

When ad lib feeding, there are options to suit all different size flocks with heated buckets available in varying sizes such as the Ewe2 Lamb feeder or the Volac Eco feeder. This is an automatic feeder designed to feed at least 40-50 lambs.


To make up one litre of milk formula to the correct concentration, mix 200g of Lamlac with 800ml of water.

Do not add 200g to a full litre of water as this will create 1.2 litres overall, which will dilute the concentration. Water should always be below 45°C, otherwise you will damage the milk proteins essential for lamb development.

Step by Step

n Use scales to accurately measure out the correct amount of milk powder.

n Add half the water (below 45°C) to all of the powder.

n Whisk until smooth.

n Top up with water until you reach the desired volume.

n Whisk again.

n Serve at 39°C to bottle fed lambs and initially to ad lib and machine-fed lambs before reducing down to 20°C once trained, in order to prevent over consumption.

n If feeding cold: mix and feed cold. Do not mix warm and allow to cool as this will encourage lambs to gorge whilst the milk is still warm.

What else does a growing lamb need?

Lambs should have access to fresh water, roughage such as straw and good quality creep feed at all times. They will begin to nibble on creep feed at seven to 10 days of age. Offer small amounts of creep to begin with and increase as required. Keep it refreshed at least once a day to encourage intake.

What do I need to prepare Lamlac for feeding?

n Bottles & teats or automatic feeders;

n Colostrum or a substitute such as Volac Volostrum;

n Syringe and tube in case tube feeding is required;

n Scales to weigh Lamlac and lamb;

n Measuring jug;

n Warm water;

n Whisk;

n Thermometer.

To ensure surplus lambs reach their potential at weaning they should be:

n A minimum of 2.5 times their birth weight (9-10kg);

n A minimum of 35 days old;

n Eating 250g of solid feed per day for 10 days beforehand.

Abrupt weaning is recommended because it reduces the risk of digestive upsets associated with gradual weaning.

As lambing begins remember your three Ps – plan, prepare and pace yourself.


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