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Prioritising quality nutrition in early life will optimise lamb performance

Following colostrum feeding the choice of a lamb milk replacer for artificially reared lambs is an important consideration. A digestible, carefully formulated milk replacer can help lambs to achieve their full growth potential and to develop into strong, robust lambs which continue to perform.

However, not all lamb milk replacers are the same; these are the key things to look for:

Protein quality is a key consideration. The source of the protein significantly affects digestibility, and therefore performance, particularly in the young lamb. Protein coming from dairy sources, such as whey derivatives or skimmed milk, is more digestible compared to vegetable protein sources, such as wheat protein, soya bean or pea proteins. Select a lamb milk replacer containing a high inclusion of protein from dairy sources, in turn, the high availability of nutrients optimises growth rates and can help to support health. Highly digestible protein sources also reduce the risk of the occurrence of fermentation of undigested nutrients which can cause problems in the digestive tract.

Fat is a key component for young lambs, it provides the majority of the total dietary energy. The source and physical structure are important considerations in order to optimise the availability of the energy to the young lamb. For this reason, opt for digestible fat sources, such as coconut and sustainably sourced palm oil that have been homogenised and spray dried to support solubility and stability.

Osmolality measures the concentration of minerals and sugars in a solution. Lamb milk replacers with a high level of osmolality can damage gut integrity, increase the risk of abomasal
bloat and potentially exacerbate diarrhoea severity. Choosing a product that has been carefully formulated with a lower osmolality in mind will help to reduce the risk of diarrhoea. It is also important to be mindful of mixing rates and milk replacer concentrations – mixing too high a concentration can directly increase the osmolality. Check feeding instructions and regularly check scoop or jug filled weights to ensure concentrations are as expected. Regular calibration of automated machines is also important for this reason.

Careful mineral and vitamin supplementation in young lambs is essential to support development, health and performance. Carefully selected sources help to optimise bioavailability whilst supporting the gastrointestinal environment.

Milkivit Energized Lamb Milk has been carefully designed to help lambs achieve their full growth potential. The formulation has been specifically developed with four key benefits in mind:

• Improved energy density
• Optimal protein digestibility
• Controlled osmolality
• Careful mineral & vitamin supplementation

For more information on our range of Lamb Milk Replacers, get in touch with your NWF sales specialist, call 01829 797 100 or click HERE.

Article by Georgina Thomas at Trouw Nutrition.

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