Father and son, Michael and Matthew Rees, farm at Cefngwyddil, Cross Inn in West Wales, running 1000 ewes; a mixture of Welsh Mules and Suffolk Cross Mules. They use Texel, Suffolk and Charollais rams and usually achieve a lambs reared figure of around 180%, with finished lambs being sold through Dunbia in Llanybydder.
Orphan lambs are reared on an ad-lib warm milk machine and last season the Rees' switched from their previous milk replacer onto ForFarmers Ewbol Lamb Care milk with positive results.
"We lambed the first 130 ewes down at the end of January 2017, then the remaining 870 following from 20th March, finishing with lambing some ewe lambs at the end of April," explained Matthew. "Orphan lambs from groups one and two, as well as the twins from the ewe lambs, were reared artificially on the milk machine and last year we moved onto the Ewbol Lamb Care powder. We had 12 orphans in the January lambing group and a further 52 from the March group, and fed each group on the ad lib feeder. We introduced ForFarmers Ewbol Prestige Lamb Pellets from day four, together with fresh straw and water daily and weaned completely at six weeks."
Matthew noticed some significant differences between the previous lamb milk replacer and the ForFarmers product: "Firstly, the powder didn't settle out like previous powders had done, there was definitely less sediment in the mixed milk - and it also didn't seem to go off when mixed up for longer periods. On a practical level, the 10kg bags that the milk powder comes in were much lighter to lift up into the feeder too. Performance-wise, we definitely saw far less incidences of scours compared to other years and the lambs' intakes were good, eating the lamb pellets quickly even though they were on a warm ad-lib system."
At 14 weeks old, the lambs had reached 40kg liveweight and were ready to go on, a result that Matthew and his father were pleased with. "We shall definitely be taking the same approach this year; with the best will in the world there will always be some orphan lambs to deal with and getting the right feed into them, right from the start is key to getting the best performance we can."
Hypothermia and infectious diseases are responsible for the majority of lamb losses. Ewbol Lambcare is a high performance lamb milk replacer formulated to provide the balanced nutrition needed to improve survival rates, increase lamb vigour and provide rapid growth rates.
The digestive system of the newborn lamb is very sensitive to nutritional changes. Ewbol Lambcare is a whey-based, water-soluble complete milk replacer which offers a well balanced, highly digestible fat and protein level to avoid digestive problems. This ensures the lamb has a plentiful supply of energy for survival and protein for growth. It contains a specialist health pack which lowers pH in the intestine and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria, resulting in improved lamb performance and health status.
Correct nutrition is essential for lambing success.