How to Make Your Own Home Milk Replacer for Lambs

Updated February 21, 2017

Many situations can lead to the necessity to bottle feed a lamb. The ewe may die in delivery, abandon the lamb or give birth to more lambs than she is capable of nursing. Commercial milk replacers are available, but an acceptable mixture can be made with items commonly found at home.

Remove about 1/3 gallon of milk from a 1-gallon container of whole milk. This milk can be commercially purchased pasteurised and homogenised milk. Purchasing the milk in a 1-gallon container provides the vessel for mixing and storing the milk replacer.

Add 1 can of evaporated milk and 1 cup of buttermilk to the whole milk in the 1-gallon container.

Shake the container to mix the combined ingredients.

Add enough of the whole milk that was removed to top off the container. This gallon of milk replacer can be used for kids or lambs.

Fill a bottle with the milk replacer and attach a rubber nipple to feed a lamb or kid.


Use the richest, highest fat content buttermilk available. This helps to raise the fat content of the milk replacer, giving extra energy for the kid or lamb. Do not use milk replacers designed or formulated for other species. Feed the milk replacer using bottles fitted with rubber nipples. Keep the milk replacer between 1.66 and 4.44 degrees C. Using cold milk prevents lambs from overeating.


If possible, the lamb should consume some colostrum, or the first milk produced by the ewe after birth. This special milk includes extra fat for energy and antibodies that improve the lamb's immunity.

Things You'll Need

  • Whole milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Bottle
  • Rubber nipple
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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.