This post is also available in: French Spanish Italian Turkish Romanian

Country: Romania

Dairy or/and meat sheep: Dairy and Meat

Source of information: Knowledge, Industry

Level of solution: Knowledge/Practical 

Aim: To reduce mortality losses in miss-mothered and orphan lambs.


  • Assure the first lambs colostrum intake at maximum 4-6 hours after birth, preferable during the first hour of life.
  • Observe lambs and their dam’s behavior immediately after lambing, and look for signs of miss mothering. Observe ewes with mastitis, and isolate their lambs.
  • Colostrum should be bottle-fed to the newborn to insure adequate consumption at 38 °C, should not be heated at microwave, because this process will damage the antibody proteins.
  • During lambing, colostrum from multiparous ewes, which lambed singletons should be collected and refrigerated or frozen (storage of up to 6 months).
  • Feed colostrum during the first 3 to 4 days of life, 150-200 ml/feed, at least three times per day, depending on the size of the lamb.
  • Additional colostrum, if available at farm level should be given to triplet born lambs.
  • Use of a colostrometer to asses’ colostrum quality before storage.
  • Cull all ewes following miss mothering or low milk yields.

Expected benefits: Improved orphan or miss mothered lamb survival.

Prerequisites and/or limits (knowledge, training, capabilities, cost, management, facilities, equipment, etc.)

  • Observing miss mothering might be impractical in some farming systems
  • In some cases, although the dam-lamb bond is established and strong, the ewe does not produce enough colostrum, this applies especially in primiparous.
  • Farmers should cull as soon as possible all ewes which manifest miss mothering.

Scientific references:

QUIGLEY, J.D., LAGO, A., CHAPMAN, C., ERICKSON, P. and POLO, J., 2013. Evaluation of the Brix refractometer to estimate immunoglobulin G concentration in bovine colostrum. Journal of Dairy Science. February 2013. Vol. 96, no. 2, p. 1148–1155;

BIELMANN, V., GILLAN, J., PERKINS, N.R., SKIDMORE, A.L., GODDEN, S. and LESLIE, K.E., 2010. An evaluation of Brix refractometry instruments for measurement of colostrum quality in dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science. August 2010. Vol. 93, no. 8, p. 3713–3721;

CHIGERWE M, TYLER, JW., MIDDLETON, JR., SPAIN, JN., DILL, JS. and STEEVENS, BJ., 2008. Comparison of four methods to assess colostral IgG concentration in dairy cows. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 2008. Vol. 233, no. 5, p. 761–766.

Tips & Tricks:

Feeding tool for youngs/orphans

Expected impacts:

Benefit expected Increase productivity:
-less mortality
Is the solution suitable for various production systems Y
If no – for which system dairy & meat
What are the asset costs <100/lamb
What are the maintenance costs <50/lamb
Any limits to its applicability No
Work Load
  Farmers Service provider/tech.-vet-others
How much time is required to prepare and implement the solution >=1week  
How many people is needed to implement the solution? 1 person (the farmer)  
How long it takes to get results? >=1week
How long it takes to see  an effect on sheep productivity? current production period
  Farmers Service provider/technicians-vet-others
What kind of equipment/tool are necessary? Bottles or tubes feeders, lamb pens, UV bulbs  
Skill/Knowledge-Training (farmer)
Does the solution need any specific skill/knowledge or training? Yes
How much time will be required for training 1 day training
Wider Environment
Is there any particular regulation link to the solution? NO
Does the solution need any particular structure or organisation? NO


This post is also available in: French Spanish Italian Turkish Romanian