Good nutrition, a measure of success
Raising milk sheep
At birth the lambs drink colostrum, i.e. the foremilk rich in maternal antibodies which protects against many types of infection. The lambs suck their mothers' milk for 3 months until weaning. After weaning, lambs can make the best use of a cereal-rich concentrated food just as well as an exclusively grass-based feed. The lambs are fed on preserved green forage, hay, straw, and corn silage. They also receive mineral and vitamin supplements. Two main diets can be identified: that of grass-fed lambs and that of sheepfold lambs. Grass-fed lambs (40 % of French lambs) are mainly produced in the grasslands of the North and West of the Massif Central (births generally at the end of the winter). Their first days are spent in the sheepfold and the rest of their existence is "out to pasture". Sheepfold raising of lambs is a vast method of farming because it is found in very varied situations, particularly in the context of sheep production complementary to arable farming, the aim of which is to make the best use of the cereals from the farm.
The key points for nutrition
Grass takes a dominant place in sheep nutrition (60 % on average). With variable forage quality the farmer has to be vigilant and adapt the feed ration he distributes regularly. If the litter is too big in relation to the ewe's milk production the lambs are taken from their mother and fed with a milk replacer. The role of the ram, often minimised, is just as important as that of the ewe. If the time taken for the spermatozoids to mature is taken into account, a mineral and vitamin preparation should be envisaged 2 months before the start of mating. The total mortality rate for farmed lambs is in the order of 20 %. Loss of earnings is evident and the negative impact of the farmer's morale is considerable. In order to benefit from the immunity delivered by the colostrum, the lamb must drink a sufficient quantity of it in the very first hours of its life.
Neolait offers various nutritional solutions for success in raising ewes:
- Minerals: success in gestation and covering requirements.
- GarolaxTM: energy supplements for preparation for mating (ewes and rams).
- Néolysa™: stimulates starting production.
- Nutritional solutions: provision of vitamins and trace elements to provide safe lambing. Colostrum supplements.
- Teravie™: fertilisation supplements.