Ewe Colostrum - Liquid Gold

Colostrum is essential. Via colostrum lambs receive vital antibodies to fight disease and energy for heat regulation and metabolism. Good colostrum management at lambing time will reduce mortality rates and improve productivity.

Colostrum should be thick and viscous with a yellow/white colour. There can be a wax plug on the end of the teat that prevents lambs drawing colostrum, this may need removing manually and should always be checked for:

The three Q’s of Colostrum:

  • Quality - 15% fat and 50g/l IgG. Well fed ewes produce better colostrum. Can be measured using a refractometer. Need a good collection technique as dirty colostrum is of poorer quality - >22 % Brix refractometer = good quality
  • Quantity - 50ml/kg within first two hours of birth, 200ml/kg within first 24 hours (feed until the belly is full)
  • Quality - Colostrum can only be absorbed from the gut for the first 24-36 hours

Replacement Colostrum

  • Another ewe - best option as will contain antibodies for your farm. Milk off or use an Udderly EZ Sheep Milking Pump too (Complete set available). Can collect and store
  • Cow colostrum from a disease free herd – will need more
  • Powdered replacement – check label as not all are the same
  • Older animals that have lambed previously because they will produce higher quality colostrum
  • Consider disease transmission, pick a good donor animal!

Check bellies

regularly checking bellies in the first 24 hours will ensure lambs are not missed. Digitally palpate full bellies - care with ‘watery mouth’ and belly distension!

Colostrum Storage

  • Fridge for 24 hours
  • Freezer if storing for >24 hours, keeps up to one year
  • Double bag in freezer bags and lay flat to allow even, thorough cooling. Record dam ID, date of collection and disease status. 
  • Warm to body temperature before feeding to a newborn by placing the bags in luke warm water - don’t use hot water or a microwave as antibodies will be destroyed!
  • Check quality first as best to only store good quality colostrum

Ensuring quality colostrum - Nutrition,Nutrition, Nutrition

There is a clear relationship between a ewe’s energy intake in the last three weeks of pregnancy and udder development, milk production and quality. A nutritional plan for the last six weeks of gestation is critical to optimising colostrum quality. The body condition score of ewes, litter size, forage type and quality are all important factors to consider.

Immucol Lamb Colostrum
from £42.95 (VAT exempt)
Volostrum Lamb Sachets 10 pack
£40.60 (VAT exempt)

Provimilk Shepherdess Lamb Milk
from £31.73 (VAT exempt)
Lamlac Ewe Replacer MilkLamlac Ewe Replacer Milk
from £46.95 (VAT exempt)

1st February 2023

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