Lamb Nutrition & Management Program - 1989

1) Creep Feeding - From birth to about 60 days of age.

(a) Most common mistake at this time is not getting the creep out soon enough.
Put out the creep prior to or at the start of lambing. This way the lambs become accustomed to it and start to eat sooner. Early consumption of feed by baby lambs stimulates rumen development and improves gain.

(b) Lambs change diet preferences as they age -
Initially (1-14 days of age), lambs prefer a 'meal' (course ground), or crumble type creep feed. At about 14 days of age thru about 30 days of age, lambs prefer a mini-pellet. From 30 days of age, they like a texturized feed (cracked grains, etc.). Do not feed whole corn and pellet diets to lambs under 80 days of age - because they will sort the mix. This results in wasted feed, unbalanced diets reducing performance, scours, and possibly causing urinary calculi.

(c) Example: Protein Required by Young Lambs:
Ewes milk is 24.7 % protein (on a dry matter basis). This would lead you to believe that early creep diets should be very high in protein and energy. The NRC says that a 22# lamb needs 0.35# of protein/day. Since a lamb of this age/weight would eat about 0.1 – 0.2# of feed daily and his daily dry matter requirement is 1.30 lbs.

0.35 # C.P.
= 26.92% protein ration required dm basis
1.30 # D.M.

Since this lamb will consume his mother’s milk and a small amount of creep feed we
can best meet his requirements with a high protein, high energy feed that is low in fiber and digestible.
(See example)
20% Protein, 4% fat, 3-5% fiber, 50 IU/lb Vitamin E, 90g/lb Bovatec.

2) Grower/Finisher Lambs - Older lambs prefer diets made with processed grains over complete pellets at this age. When higher energy feeds are used, gain is maximized.

(a) Keep particle size of ration ingredients the same! Caution on use of the whole corn/pellet feeding program until lambs are about 80 days of age. Feed hay at about 0.25#/hd/day.

(b) If market is the goal, higher energy feeds like corn should be used for most efficient rate of gain, and cost. NPN (urea), can be used at 1% of the complete diet now, it is safe, beneficial nutritionally, and helps reduce feed cost. Grain mix = 15-16% CP, corn based, 30g Bov.

3) Feeding Replacement Ewe Lambs - This is somewhat of an art; it’s a delicate balance to get a good growth without excessive fat cover. Replacements that grow slower on higher fiber, lower energy diets will in general have a larger frame size at maturity.

(a) More than one correct way to 'develop' replacement ewe lambs. Typically feed your ewe lambs just like all the other lambs to about 90-120 days of age. (Grow them separate from the market lambs and separate from the ewe flock!) A good program is to rotationally graze these ewe lambs on high quality pasture only or pasture plus 1-2# supplemental grain ration. This is the best cost and yields excellent results in growth and development of ewe lambs. This grain mix would be 16% protein and can be a corn based ration since a small amount is used.

(b) If land is limited or if you are growing out show ewe lambs, then pasture will probably be a supplement to the rest of the feeding program. A moderate fiber, lower energy, 16% ration plus hay will have to be used. More total pounds of grain are fed so this grain mix will be different than the one used to supplement a pasture program. Corn will be low, oats or another lower energy grain will be used and be the dominate grain source in the mix.