(Article courtesy of Livestock Logic, Portland Rd, Hamilton Vic)
If you are considering finishing lambs on grain/pellets here are some helpful hints to prevent costly mistakes courtesy of Livestock Logic Vet and Ag Consultants.
Judging by the amount of Eskalin prescriptions we have been filling for lamb pellets there is a considerable amount of producers in the region gearing up to finish lambs on grain/pellets. With the lack of quality feed quickly diminishing many of us are asking the question what is the best option for our lambs, sell as stores, finish quickly on full grain ration or keep them ticking along with thought that prices will shoot skyward in the new year. For those that take the grain/feedlot option it is important you get it right, as the opportunity to increase the value of your lambs can quite quickly be lost on a small percentage of dead lambs or worse poor productivity.
Once a routine is established the art of inducting lambs onto grain and getting decent growth rates can seem pretty simple. Those that do it year round no doubt have this down pat, but when we do it only a few times a year or every few years then simple mistakes can be costly.
The key things to consider are:
- Induction onto grain – Need to allow an absolute minimum of 2 weeks for gut microbes to be ready to handle a full (90%) grain ration
- Diet – Energy and protein levels. In general the higher of each the better. Pellets Vs Mixing grains. Balance between cheapest form of energy and easiest form of delivery
- Induction treatments – Drench & 5in1 are the minimum
- Pen space, feed trough and water space – All need attention to minimise social stress on lambs to minimise shy feeders
- Providing fibre for lambs – They need fibre (~10%) but any increase in intake will limit ability to consume high carbohydrate grain and therefore growth rate is limited
- Vitamins and minerals – varies with season, time of year and feed sources.
These are just a snap shot of the basics that need attention. If you are looking to feed lot lambs over the coming weeks and are unsure about best practice guidelines and would like advice on management of lambs please call Livestock Logic on 03 55 721419
For more information, click on the following links:
Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia