by: Dr. G.F. Kennedy

Lets visit about creep feeding. Unless lambs are on pasture, creep feeding is essential. Lambs learn to eat with the ewes and want the security of their mom around, so location of creep is important. Ideally it should be in the center of their area and well lighted. Back in a dark corner doesn’t work.

Rations can be a mini sized pellet or texturized ration of corn and soy bean meal. 18 to 20% protein is ideal. Big Gain that has dealers in Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa have an 18% product, a mini pellet combined with cracked corn that I found superior to any other choice available. It is very palatable and in my operation I am eliminating the 16% grower ration and offering this product alongside the 13% whole corn pellet ration with free choice alfalfa hay until they convert to the 13% ration.

Some shepherds will mix cracked corn and soybean meal 50/50 to get lambs started. Deccox needs to be added to aid in the control of coccidiosis. Two and one half pounds of 6.6% Deccox per ton is indicated. The Deccox can only work if you get consumption. Deccox works early in the coccidiosis life cycle and without consumption doesn’t work at all. That explains why some of the best lambs on heavy milking ewes are the first to show signs of the disease in an outbreak.

Clean, fresh water is always to be provided along with the best quality hay available. Offer grain ration in small amounts to start with and keep it clean and fresh. A dirty stale creep feed isn’t palatable and lambs will refuse to eat it. Discard old feed or feed it to the ewes.

About Ask-a-Vet Sheep

Veterinary services, procedures, biologicals, and drugs mentioned in this publication represent the personal opinions and clinical observations of the contributing author. They are in no way intended to be interpreted as recommendations without the consent of the producer’s own practicing Veterinarian. We strongly urge that producers establish a patient-client-veterinarian relationship that allows extra-label use when there are no drugs approved for treatment or if approved drugs are not effective. This procedure allows veterinarians to go beyond label directions when “prudent use” is necessary. The limited availability of drugs and biologics in this country is a major factor in restricting the growth of the sheep industry and allowing producers to compete in the world market place.
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