Shine Ewe-reka helps replacement lambs reach their targets for good performance in the milking herd!
A once-a-day calf feeding Michael Flanagan at Rockfield Dairy, Claremorris, in Co Mayo in the west of Ireland is currently milking 200 ewes.
It is a family run business involving Michael, wife Aisling, children and farm worker Nicky. At Rockfield dairy, Michael runs a flock of Friesland and Lacaune ewes, these are dominant dairy breeds and are known for their extended lactation period. At peak time the ewes are averaging 1.8 litres per day and usually yield around 300 litres per lactation. Handmade sheep’s milk yogurt and cheese are processed on the farm and sold under the name of Velvet Cloud. Velvet cloud products are being sold in shops and restaurants all over the country.
Lambing (180% lambing percentage) at Rockfield dairy happens three times during the year, usually February, July and October to allow for continuous milk flow for yogurt production. All lambs are Friesland or Lacaune or cross of both breeds. “I always look for hardiness and fast growth in a lamb, feeding and breeding are the two main things to get right when it comes to producing good replacement lambs for the milking herd”, said Michael. Bonanza Calf nutrition’s Dr Amanda Dunn commented “what better way to feed replacement lambs than with lamb milk that is made with ewe’s milk – it’s the next best thing to their mothers”!
“With the help of Shine Ewe-reka I can help keep my pre-weaned replacement lambs healthy at the stage when they are most prone to scours and bloat, because the ewe’s milk in Shine Ewe-reka contains specific antibodies against sheep diseases”
Once lambs have been tube fed 250-300ml of their own mothers colostrum three to four times in the first 24 hours they are fed pooled colostrum for 3 to 4 days after lambing. The average birth weight of the lambs is about 3.5 kg. Subsequent to this, all replacement lambs are fed ad-lib Shine Ewe-reka milk replacer on a forster technik automatic feeder. Michael found “getting lambs off to a good start reaps benefits for the lambs health and performance, that’s why I feed lambs well for the first week or so at a higher concentration of 30-35% milk solids and then reduce to 25% once they are a couple of weeks old”. A good quality lamb creep feed and water is available to the lambs at all time from they are 4 or 5 days of age.
Michael commented “With the help of Shine Ewe-reka I can help keep my pre-weaned replacement lambs healthy at the stage when they are most prone to scours and bloat, because the ewe’s milk in Shine Ewe-reka contains specific antibodies against sheep diseases”.
“Lambs are weaned abruptly, this is usually around 30 days of age but only when they are eating a minimum of 250 to 300g of lamb creep for three consecutive days, this helps to avoid the lambs going backwards once they are taken off milk”, said Michael. Lambs are usually 10-12kg once weaned off milk. The previous batch of lambs consumed on average of 11.3kg of Shine by weaning.