Query with colostrum (milk)
Hi, We live in central west NSW, Australia and I am presently rearing 4 orphaned lambs. I have lost 3 others over the last two weeks unfortunately and I believe this to be because they haven't had their first feed of colostrum and one got cold.
Four surviving lambs - Dorpers
The milk stated in the recipes above, is this directly from a cow - we don't have one and don't have access to other ewes who may be lambing due to our paddocks being very large.
Is it possible to use commercial milk or is there an alternative or commercial form you can purchase? I would appreciate your advice. I am using a lamb milk powder called Profelac (Shepherd).
There has been some scouring but have a formula called Scourban from our local vet which helps with this. Also have fed the weaker lambs with an electrolyte feed to boost their energy levels initially, but only when I felt it was necessary. All their bottles are sterilized prior to filling and teats are kept in an antibacterial solution when not being used.
The last lamb lost was only last night (Tues), we found her on Monday night, under a tree and was covered in ants. Upon cleaning her up, we immediately gave her a drink of boiled water which she guzzled down and was energized after that, and had two milk feeds over the next few hours. Tues mid morning she was extremely lethargic. I syringed the electrolyte into her mouth but she never really recovered and just got weaker.
I am sorry to hear that you have lost 3 lambs to date, but you know, raising orphan lambs is not easy and there is always the chance of losing some. However, think how many you would lose if you didn't step in.
The recipes here use straight cows milk, not the commercial variety. If you can't find a kind neighbor who will give you some the best alternative then would be to buy some organic, homogenized milk.
If you are using the milk replacer stick with that if they are doing well on it.
Lambs that don't get colostrum in those first hours, are the ones that are most at risk. When ewes are pregnant the antibodies in her bloodstream do not cross over to the placenta. She doesn't have this capability. It is only when the lambs are born that they get these antibodies from the colostrum, and this is why it is so important.
And although we can make our own colostrum, as you will see from the recipes we gave, it still doesn't have those important antibodies that the lambs need for survival. When they are born they are immediately exposed to all sorts of bugs and beasties but with no immunity to them.
Just keep doing what you are doing, as it sounds as if you are doing all the right things. Just make sure that you are giving them the right strength milk replacer and that they are having 6 feeds a day, which means having to feed them around the clock.
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