Why creep feeding lambs is a no brainer

If you want to optimise growth rates as cheaply as possible then it’s a good idea to creep feed lambs from seven to 10 days old. 

We need to grow lambs to meet market requirements and high daily liveweight gains (DLWG) can’t be achieved without creep. 

Creeping the lambs makes the most of their high early feed conversion efficiency (see box) and bridges the gap as the quality and quantity of the ewe’s milk kicks into gear. 

As it gets older, the lamb needs supplementation for good growth and could be taking half of its daily nutritional requirements from dry feed, which will also help to develop the rumen. 

As lambs get older, typical DLWG range from 300 - 400g, but this will vary according to grass quality and quantity. This is another reason to creep feed your lambs - to take the pressure off the grazing rotation and allow heavier stocking rates. 

Creep fed lambs are going to mature faster than grass fed lambs, so they will hit the early markets and hopefully command a better price. 

Feeding considerations 

It’s important to include ammonium chloride in any creep feed to help prevent urinary calculi - kidney stones. This condition affects male lambs, stopping them from urinating and causing fluid 

build-up, which can be fatal. It is also essential to ensure all lambs have continual access to fresh, clean water. 

When choosing where to place your creep feeder try to find a sheltered, dry standing area and provide enough creep to prevent overcrowding, which can cause suffocation. 

The creep itself should be replenished frequently to encourage intake. Move the creeps regularly to reduce the possibility of muck and soil contamination, which can cause problems with coccidiosis. If coccidiosis does become a problem, speak to your vet or one of our Registered Animal Medicines Advisors. 

For more information contact the Feed & Nutritionists Line
Tel: 01278 444829 or email [email protected]

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