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Country: Romania

Dairy or/and meat sheep: Dairy and Meat

Source of information: Knowledge, Industry

Level of solution: Knowledge/Practical


Aim: Planning feed requirements in un-weaned lambs and assuring high growth rates


  • At 6-7 days of age lambs should be creep-fed with lamb starters (fine grounded cereals or pelleted feed), assuring 16 to 18% crude protein (ad libitum).
  • Use creep-pens (15-20% of the sheds surface) or lamb creep feeders, and adjust them based on the body development of lambs.
  • Starting 14 days of age, lambs should be provided with high quality hay (Alfalfa or red clover) and an accessible source of water.
  • Creep feed especially lambs born as twins or triplets, and those from ewes with low milk yield.
  • Farmers should plan and purchase the feed needed for lambs until the age of weaning or their movement to grazing.
  • If pelleted feed is being used, farmers should choose ones which contain coccidiostatics and buffers to balance the pH of the rumen.

Expected benefits: Improved growth rates (+20-30%) and vigor in un-weaned lambs. Throughout the use of creep feeding the weaning weights are higher, lamb mortality lower and age at weaning could be reduced.

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

  • Farmers need to purchase pelleted feed, which implies extra costs and also to buy or produce high quality hay.
  • Extra costs and labor are needed for installing creep-pens inside the shed.

Scientific literature:

Salgado et al., 2018. Endoparasite and nutritional status of suffolk lambs in seven production systems. Animal Production Science 58, 1667-1676

Tips & Tricks:

Feed unit access for lambs

Expected impacts:

Benefit expected Increase productivity:
-less mortality
-better feed management
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? Concentrate feeders for lambs, lamb feed  
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

Users’ evaluation:



Solution No/Name

37. Un-weaned lambs creep-feeding

Farmer/Service provider/technicians-vet-others


Why did you select this solution?

To improve lamb health, growth and survival rate

To decrease the period of lams sucking

Was it easy to implement?


If not say what are the identified drawbacks?

Feeding high quantities of concentrates to lambs, leads to a shorter lactation in dams, because lambs will prefer to eat concentrates after 2 months and the ewes will reduce milk yield (problematic in dairy and dual-purpose breeds)

Did you need to adapt it?


If yes, how?

Fenced area with two entries to facilitate the passage of lambs and without water dispenser.

Hey available after 25 days from lambing.

Separation of ewes from their lambs after 25 days, and milking the ewes during morning.

Were you happy with the outcome of the solution?


What were the outcomes?

Higher growth and survival rates in lambs.

Replacement lambs were weaned with 5 days before the traditional management (35 days instead of 40).

Score the solution

Interesting and easy to implement

Will you continue to implement it?


If not, for which reasons?



Better suited for meat farms, less for dairy.

The concentrates should not be extremely fine, 3 mm particles size would be the optimum.

In dairy sheep farms the solution is valid only for replacement lambs.

Milk lambs for slaughter did not profit significantly from this solution.


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