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Author Topic: Cows milk to orphan lambs?  (Read 20848 times)


  • Joined May 2009
  • South Wales
    • Website
Cows milk to orphan lambs?
« on: March 28, 2011, 03:07:55 pm »
We picked up our first orphan lamb yesterday - the lady we got the lamb from was very helpful and even showed us how to bottle feed.  The lamb is just 3 days old and she had been feeding normal supermarket cows milk.   Looking online today it seems a lot of people think that this may be risky as the lamb could easily get ill from this milk.

Is this correct?  The lamb seems perfectly happy with the cows milk and I wouldn't want to change feed if not necessary.   I have also found a lot of conflicting information on amounts and regularity of feed....

any tips greatly appreciated.


  • Joined Jan 2010
Re: Cows milk to orphan lambs?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 04:43:46 pm »
I feed a mix of lamb replacement milk and unpasteurised cows milk from my neighbour.  Sometimes there isn't any cows milk so just lamb milk.  Goats is good too.  I only do 2 feeds a day and give about 0.5 litres per lamb per feed but you would gradually increase to this level


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Cows milk to orphan lambs?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2011, 05:38:53 pm »
I suppose the main problem with cow's milk would be that the fat globules are far larger than in sheeps milk.  However, I expect that lamb milk replacer is made from cow's milk anyway - does anyone know?  You might want to compare the price of supermarket cows milk with powdered lamb milk replacer from your agric store, also the comparative fat, mineral and vitamin contents - copper is poisonous to sheep so if there is any of that in cows milk it would not be suitable.  One big bucket of replacer should last one lamb as long as it needs it.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

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  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Cows milk to orphan lambs?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 01:19:45 am »
This year I am feeding all my orphans on unpasteurised, unhomogenised Jersey milk.  So far (oldest lamb 4 weeks) the only problem has been the change of diet back to sheep's milk if I get a chance of fostering a lamb that's been on Jersey milk.  They get a bit squitty for a day or two but soon get used to the new diet.

Many of the farmers around here routinely use cow colostrum for the first few feeds for a newborn orphan.  I've used the lamb colostrum replacers in the past and found them very good, but this year have used cow colostrum.  Too early to say if it's as good - certainly no problems at this stage.

I feed very new lambs 6 times a day, 4 times after a few days, reducing to 3 times at about 2-3 weeks, twice around 4 weeks, wean (just stop) at 6 weeks - providing they are eating plenty of creep feed.  Newborns get two feeds of colostrum, 100-150ml per feed if they will take it, 50ml tubed twice if necessary.  After that I feed up to 1L per day split across the number of feeds they're getting, always stopping at each feed if the belly is getting bloated.

I do make sure to vaccinate lambs reared on anything other than a ewe.  You have to take care to follow the instructions on the vaccine about the earliest to vaccinate, which will depend on whether it had any sheep's colostrum as well as which vaccine you are using.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


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