No boiler heating capability? Cold milk or warm milk does not make any difference to surplus lambs reared on Lamlac milk replacer, according to a new report.

The results were from a study at Reaseheath College last spring whereby lambs from about a week old were fed cold milk through to weaning.

Volac R and D manager Dr Jessica Cooke said the study followed recommended rearing practices during the first week of life. Thereafter, lambs were fed cold ad-lib milk which offers shepherds a simple, practical, and cost-effective method of rearing surplus offspring when warm water is not available.

The ability to feed cold can also be useful in situations when rearing lambs of different ages requires milk to be fed at a constant temperature.

Following the initial first colostrum feeding period, trial lambs were fed a second feed of ewe colostrum via a bottle and teat (or a tube) at a rate of 50ml/kg bodyweight. They were then fed Lamlac via a bottle and teat every six hours for the first 24 hours. Lambs were introduced to the training pen and fed warm milk ad-lib (milk at 25ºC) for seven days.

On day nine, lambs were allocated to either the warm milk pen or the cold milk pen.

Both groups were weaned abruptly at 35 days of age, weighing a minimum of 10kg and eating at least 250g of creep feed a day.

Results showed lamb performance was similar across both treatments, although the lambs fed cold milk tended to be heavier from day 14 through to weaning, resulting in a slightly greater body weight at weaning (13.1kg v 12.4kg).”

“It was clear that feeding lambs cold milk from just over a week of age had no negative impact on performance. Lambs fed cold milk performed better through to weaning – achieving a daily live weight gain of 0.27kg/day compared with 0.25kg/day in the warm milk group. The advantage is thought to be due to the greater creep feed intake,” said Dr Cooke.