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Are You Investing in Lamb Nutrition to Bolster Performance?

Are You Investing in Lamb Nutrition to Bolster Performance?

In mid-season lambing flocks, the aim is to get lambs to 32 to 42kg as soon as possible, capitalising on early feed conversion efficiency (FCE). Investing in early nutrition to capitalise on this early growth potential will pay dividends.

With the fortnight of Eid celebrations commencing in mid-July, those who lambed early to mid-March need to get lambs finished quickly to ensure they don’t miss market opportunities.

This can be achieved through well-managed grazing systems alone. But, to meet market requirements, a high daily live weight gain (DLWG) is required, and for the majority of systems with low-quality forage of limited grazing, it pays to creep feed lambs to bolster performance.

Here are some of the key points to consider when feeding creep to spring lambs.

Good Grass May Not Need Complementary Creep

If grass is in plentiful supply, with a sward height of 4 to 6cm, creep feed will only add cost. In situations where lambs don’t have access to good grass throughout the weaning period, it will pay to creep feed to ensure good levels of growth, ensuring they can be marketed sooner to hit the early season demand.

Which Lambs to Creep and When?

The obvious lambs to creep are triplets and twins, but also consider lambs from young ewes, older ewes or ewes that are in poor condition.

Early fed creep lambs are by far the most efficient convertors of feed. In the first 12 weeks, for every 3kg of creep feed fed, 1kg DLWG can be achieved. Post-weaning, this is reduced to between 5:1 to 10:1, so it can be more economical to feed lambs sooner rather than later.

Introducing Lambs to Creep

Creep feed should be fed at the right time and at the right rates, to support rumen development and overall growth.

Once turned out to grass, lambs need two to three weeks to allow the rumen to adapt to forage. From here, introducing creep can result in lambs on average eating 40 to 50kg per head by the time they are sold, if it’s offered ad-lib with sward heights of around 4cm.

Those lambs on restricted grazing or limited grazing, will on average gain an extra kilo liveweight, for every 5 to 6kg of creep feed, compared to non-supplemented lambs.

Choosing the Creep Feed

Creep feed should provide 12.5 to 13 ME and 18% Crude Protein, along with good sources of undegradable protein. The Lambmaster range of feeds has been scientifically formulated to complement ewes milk and early season grass. Lambmaster feeds include a butterscotch sweetener to ensure excellent palatability and quick uptake by lambs.

Creep Feeder Know-How

  • Ensure feeders are only accessible to lambs – ensure the spacing isn’t too large for ewes to access, or too small for lambs to get stuck
  • Clean out regularly
  • Put feeders in sheltered space and on dry areas of the field
  • Avoid poaching underfoot, as this can lead to disease build-up such as cocci – move if ground becomes too wet and apply lime to minimise the risk

Choosing The Right Creep Feed

For more information or advice on creep feeding and lamb nutrition, speak to your Wynnstay Representative, local Wynnstay Store or contact a specialist.

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