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Abstract

A Field Trial Evaluating the Health and Performance of Lambs Fed a Bovine Colostrum Replacement

Context: Failure of passive transfer of immunity due to insufficient and/or delayed administration of good quality colostrum is a risk for disease, death and reduced weight gain in lambs.
Objective: This trial evaluated the performance and health of lambs fed a bovine source lacteal derived colostrum powder in addition to farm colostrum compared to two feedings of farm colostrum.
Setting: This trial was performed on a large commercial sheep farm in Israel in 2015.
Participants: Two cohorts, a total of 60 male lambs, were enrolled at birth and followed until sent to market at approximate 5.5 months of age.
Interventions: The lambs randomly assigned at birth to receive either 250 ml of a bovine colostrum replacement (CR) or 250 ml of farm source ewe colostrum (FC) within half an hour of birth. Within 6 hours of birth a second feeding of 250 ml of farm source ewe colostrum was administered to both groups.
Main outcome measures: Colostral Brix% and serum brix% was measured using a Brix digital refractometer and compared between treatments. Morbidity, mortality and weight gain was recorded until marketing at average 165 days of age and compared between treatments.
Results: The Brix values were significantly higher in CR compared to FC. Serum% Brix was significantly higher in CR than FC lambs. There was significantly less disease in CR lambs (0%) than in FC lambs (17%) (P=0.05). Significantly more CR lambs (97%, 29 of 30 lambs) were marketed compared to FC lambs (77%, 23 of 30 lambs) (P=0.05). Conclusions: The use of this commercial colostrum replacement may facilitate colostrum management and improve health and productivity in lambs.


Author(s):

Berge AC, Hassid G, Leibovich H, Solomon D, Haines DM, Chamorro MF



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