Many farmers dread having to bottle feed lambs and kids. After all, commercial milk replacer is expensive, difficult to find and often smells. However, it's possible to make an effective, nutritious milk replacer at home for much less. Lambs love it, and it's easy to make. Just remember to talk to a veterinarian if you have any problems, and keep a close eye on your bottle babies.
To create a milk replacer for lambs, you'll need to do more than just substitute cow's milk. Lambs need more fat and different nutrients than many other animals. Ideally, you should keep some frozen colostrum on hand. However, that may not be possible. Adding fattier ingredients to whole cow's milk can help your lambs get what they need.
Make a batch of milk replacer for lambs using 1 gallon of whole cow's milk, 1 cup of buttermilk, a beaten egg and one 428ml can of evaporated milk. Do not substitute low-fat versions for any ingredients. You may substitute 2 cups of buttermilk and 1 cup of whipping cream for the 1 cup buttermilk and beaten egg.
Mix together the buttermilk, evaporated milk and egg. Pour a third of the whole milk into a separate container, and set it aside. Pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk and mix well. Refill the container with the milk you set aside. Some may be left over. Discard it or use it elsewhere. Feed this milk replacer to your lambs as usual.
Some lambs may have stomach problems with this milk replacer. If this occurs, add 1/8 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) per 340gr of milk replacer to help neutralise acid. Feed cold milk to lambs more than a few weeks old to reduce bacterial growth and mortality from bloat.