Half of UK lamb mortality occurs within the first 24 hours of life, with newborn lambs requiring adequate intake of colostrum as soon as possible after birth to combat disease and optimise health. Approximately 22 percent of ewes produce colostrum of inadequate quality; consequently, colostrum replacers and supplements can be offered. Colostrum replacers should fully replace maternal colostrum, whereas colostrum supplements have been developed to provide exogenous immunoglobulins to neonates when natural concentrations are low and should contain a minimum of 3 g IgG/feed.
Fifteen different colostrum supplements were evaluated. For each product, two different batches were analysed for IgG content.
Levels of IgG/feed ranged from 0.4 to 3.5 g. Products with the highest IgG levels were Lamaid (VetPlus), Colostro+ Lamb (Greencoat), Ovicol (Farmsense) and Shepherdess Lamb Colostrum (Provimi) averaging ≥3.0 g/feed. The remaining 11 products had IgG levels below 3 g IgG/feed, hence could be providing inadequate levels of IgG and potentially impacting on neonatal health.
This study has shown great variability between the quality of commercially available colostrum supplements, so care must be taken when selecting products.