Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!  (Read 728 times)

Timmy T

  • Joined Feb 2021
Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« on: March 08, 2021, 09:04:19 pm »
So, our 2 bottle fed lambs seem to be doing pretty well. Taking plenty of milk and nibbling nicely on hay and straw. We’ve introduced a small bucket of water, and they’ve started to drink a wee bit from that, so still happy!

However, the creep we’ve introduced in another feed bucket has gone relatively untouched. The lambs seem to sniff at it, push it around a bit, but don’t seem to have much interest in eating it!

Are there any tricks to it, or just let them get on with it in their own time?

TVM, TT

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2021, 09:32:47 pm »
How old are they?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2021, 10:00:27 pm »
Yes they will mouth at and not really eat it at first.

I always find they"ll nibble at a mix sooner than a pellet - and probably start with eating all of the flake, for instance, or all of the peas, before gradually starting to eat the other bits.  So I usually offer a scant handful of mix until they are eating something (often is around 2 weeks, but can be later), then if I want them on the creep pellet I start to stir a little bit of that in with their mix, and gradually reduce the mix once I can see that the pellet is being taken.

But buying a sack of each for 2 lambs would be bonkers, so you might need to sweet-talk a local farmer, or find your local mill (where they make / mix and bag it) and persuade them to sell you a small amount.

Some lambs never really take to the creep (of whatever type), so for those at around 5 weeks I might reduce their morning bottle by half and leave them with just creep, hay and water.  They usually start to eat their creep better when they aren't full of milk ;)
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

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2021, 06:34:43 am »
Always had more luck with mix rather than pellets -goas kids and lambs.


Timmy T

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2021, 07:25:43 am »
My wife’s horses get a high fibre chaff as the base to all their feed, could I mix some of that in with the creep?

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2021, 09:50:47 am »
Just feed straight creep- as above mix is more palatable as it's got molasses in it, but once eating mix they will eat pellets too. I find they don't eat much creep till 3 or 4 weeks old and by 6 weeks they are inhaling it.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2021, 10:14:17 am »
My wife’s horses get a high fibre chaff as the base to all their feed, could I mix some of that in with the creep?

I don't think this would be helpful.
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

Timmy T

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2021, 09:35:33 am »
4 weeks old now and our 2 lambs still have no interest at all in the creep! They are guzzling milk, putting on weight, nibbling hay/straw, seem very happy, but aren’t touching the creep pellets at all. Tried cutting down on the hay (straw is there as bedding but they eat that as well!), but all that happens is an increase in bleeting before meal time (4 times a day).

Unfortunately, our feed store doesn’t do a lamb mix, so creep pellets are all we have. Is there anything that we might mix into it to make it more appealing?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2021, 10:18:40 am »
They are 4 weeks old now, they can be on fewer milk feeds a day.  They will get hungry yes, that will help them start to tinker with the creep! 

I would drop one milk feed now, and if they still aren't eating creep at all in a week, cut the bottles to 2 a day. 

You can increase the amount of milk per feed so they get the same quantity overall, but do that in small increments so they don't get stomach overflow.  You may need to reduce the overall milk ration to get them to eat creep, but the first thing is to give them time to get hungry between bottles.

Does your agri store do an "all stock" mix?  Most do.  Otherwise get some cereal flakes (maize or barley, or triticale, whatever is available) and maybe some squashed peas.  Mix some of that with the creep, it will make it more interesting to them.  It's just about teaching them to eat it at this point, you can worry about getting the right nutrients in the right balance once they are eating it!  They will eat the pukka lamb creep once they have learned about it.

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

vfr400boy

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • one life live it
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2021, 11:44:24 am »
My bottle fed lambs was a week old on Thursday iv just been and bought a ewe and lamb mix , do I just offer a small and full for them to sniff at or am I still a tad early with it ?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2021, 01:21:46 pm »
At a week old it's a bit early for creep yes, in that it must always be fresh so you would waste a lot before they start to nibble at it.

So I start putting a small handful of creep down at around 18-21 days-ish.  They rarely eat any quantity before about 4 or 5 weeks.

They do need clean soft hay (or some prefer just barley straw) from the get-go, though.  It's essential for rumen development.  Again, tiny quantities until they start to really eat it, and fresh every day.
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

Timmy T

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2021, 07:57:29 pm »
So, now 6 wks old, having 2x 500ml bottles a day, but still won’t eat just creep. I’ve a sack of sheep coarse mix, and mix creep pellets in with that 50/50 but most of the creep is left with most of the mix gone. I tried putting out just creep after I got them to take the mix, but they just ignore it.

So, is eating  creep the most important thing? Could they just have coarse mix? Or do you need to be cruel to be kind and just leave out creep on the premis that if they’re hungry enough they’ll eat it? We’ve started letting them roam the stable yard, and they happily graze a grassy bank, so they are eating and tolerating solids (along with the mix), and they are certainly putting on weight and growing.

Answers on a postcard.........!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2021, 09:32:28 pm »
I reared hundreds of pet lambs over the years. Commericial types do do slightly better on creep but there's no question they mostly all prefer a mix when they're younger.  And primitives and some mountain / hill types are really better allowed to grow a little more slowly, so then the mix is fine.

The rumen, where they digest hard food, is only just becoming really functional at 6 weeks and isn't fully functional until 8 weeks.  So it"s not really that important which they're eating right now. 

I would just keep feeding the mix with a sprinkle of the creep, you will almost certainly find that as you wean them, and or as they get past 8 weeks, they will start to really clean up whatever cake you give them.  So then you can up the proportion of creep if you want.
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

Timmy T

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2021, 08:34:36 am »
Thank you Sally, that’s really appreciated, hopefully we’re not doing them too much of a disservice.

So, I presume the next major event will be weaning them. Stand by for another raft of questions!  :D

vfr400boy

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • one life live it
Re: Is there a “Creep Trick”?!
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2021, 08:51:14 pm »
Thank you Sally, that’s really appreciated, hopefully we’re not doing them too much of a disservice.

So, I presume the next major event will be weaning them. Stand by for another raft of questions!  :D

I am reading all your posts as my lambs are a week or so behind yours ,

 

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