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Lamb rearer finds the ideal milk replacer for his automatic feeder

Lamb rearer finds the ideal milk replacer for his automatic feeder

Lamb rearer finds the ideal milk replacer for his automatic feeder

Adding an automatic feeder to their orphan lamb-rearing system was a learning curve for experienced lamb-rearers Alistair and Genna Bird. Choosing to complement the system with MaxCare Lamb and Kid Milk Replacer was a good decision; the lambs took to it easily and there has been no evidence of nutritional scours.

The Birds lease The Grange farm, a sheep and beef property at Oxford, where they have farmed for the past nine years. The property is predominantly rolling to steep country and easterly facing in the foothills. They do a lambing beat early every year, with a third of the ewes lambing on 1 August.

“We pick up any mismothered lambs and one of any set of triplets, giving the other two the best chance on mum,” says Alistair.

“We reared about 70 lambs last season. For us, rearing orphan lambs is an animal welfare initiative. We are proactive in setting up a system that will be sustainable in the future.”

Last year, the Birds repurposed an existing shed into a rearing shed and added an automatic feeding system.

“A new system always brings new challenges. From getting the milk mixed right, through to disinfecting the pens, ticking all the boxes took some practice,” says Alistair.

With the addition of the new feeder, the Birds wanted a milk replacer that would work well in the machine and get the lambs off to a good start.

“We did our research,” Alistair explained. “We spoke to lots of people and decided that a whole milk powder was the way to go. Available through PGG Wrightson, MaxCare Lamb and Kid Milk Replacer felt like the best choice, plus it was priced well, and its availability was secure.”

Loyal PGG Wrightson customers, Alistair and Genna place 99 percent of their business through the Rangiora store and work closely with Technical Field Representative Kaleb Bolton.

“We are provided with a wealth of knowledge,” says Alistair. “If one of the team is unsure of an answer, they will find the information and get back to me. The reps I have worked with over the years have acted as our agronomist, supporting us with winter and summer cropping and pasture renewal.

“The PGG Wrightson Rangiora store provides great support; they have all the gear we want and placing an order and taking delivery is easy, even for a pallet and a half of MaxCare.”

MaxCare Lamb and Kid Milk Replacer has proven to work well with the new system. New lambs coming in are fed colostrum and held in the newborn pen for 24 to 48 hours while learning to latch onto a teat. Once they are drinking sufficiently, they move to one of two auto-feeder pens. Clean water and meal are also offered to the lambs.

“MaxCare is ideal in the automatic feeder. We have no issues with blockages. Importantly, the lambs are healthy; there is no scouring and the pens stayed relatively dry. We then wean them at 20 kg.”