Why is Colostrum During Lambing so Important?

Why is Colostrum During Lambing so Important?

When prepping for the lambing season ahead, one of the first things many sheep farmers are considering, is which colostrum to use for their lambs. But what exactly IS colostrum and why is it so important?

What is Colostrum?

Colostrum is the very first milk that a female mammal produces. The benefits to the animal are highly beneficial as it contains a broad spectrum of immune factors; including antibodies that are essential to a new-born to provide disease resistance.

When should Colostrum be fed?

The young mammal is born with an extremely porous stomach wall, however, the porosity begins to decrease approximately 5 hours after birth* when the structure of the stomach wall begins to tighten and close**. As the antibodies in Colostrum are large molecules, they can only pass through these holes, into the blood stream, during this short timeframe.

*Up to 5 hours after birth – 98% of all antibodies ingested can pass through the stomach wall. **By 12 hours – only 50%. At 24 hours – 10%. 36 Hours and thereafter throughout life only 2% can pass through the stomach wall.

Why do new-born mammals need Colostrum?

The new-born mammal is born with very little immunity, this is because during pregnancy the antibodies are incapable of passing across the placental barrier. This barrier also has limited energy reserves and needs rapid access to colostrum, to maintain body temperature, especially those born when it is cold! Lambs are also born with low Vitamin A reserves. Colostrum is usually rich in vitamin A and helps to build stores in the new-born. It is also the first source of Vitamin E and iron; in fact the iron content of colostrum is 10 to 17 times higher in colostrum than normal milk. Not only this, but Colostrum also has laxative qualities and helps to pass the meconium, eliminating further faecal matter in the newborn's digestive tract.

What’s wrong with using the Ewe’s own Colostrum?

Research has shown that livestock vary in the quantity and quality of colostrum that they produce. Younger females tend to produce less colostrum than mature females. Inadequate nutrition during late pregnancy can reduce the quantity and quality of colostrum. In most underfed ewes, the lambs' need for colostrum often exceeds the ewe's production. This means the use of a Colostrum Supplement can unquestionably help to give the lamb an advantageous start in life and help it achieve its full productivity potential in later life.

What’s wrong with using frozen Colostrum from a dairy herd?

Some farmers use frozen Colostrum from neighboring dairy herds. However frozen colostrum should be thawed slowly in a warm water bath without using direct heat, as this will destroy the colostral antibodies. This, of course eating into the valuable time where the lamb’s gut is able to absorb the colostrum. Osmonds Colostrum Supplement can be made when required, in an emergency without having to wait for the thawing out period.

What does Osmonds Premium Brand Colostrum contain and what are the benefits?

Pure Spray Dried Colostrum 

-Sourced from an EU GMP Certified Plant

- TB (Tuberculosis), EBL (Enzootic Bovine Leukosis), BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) and Johnes Disease FREE.

Dextrose & Oil

- Essential sources of energy to assist metabolic function, in particular maintenance of temperature.

- Fat content -12.5%. This may seem low in comparison to some products, but our preferred energy source comes from the glucose, as an increased fat content inhibits its mixing ability. Glucose however, is readily available and metabolised from dextrose rather than from fat.

Vitamins A, D & E

- Enhance the nutrient value of the first feed to help produce faster growing lambs.

Vetoxan - Bio-Probiotic

- Consisting of yeast extracts, branch-chain polypeptides, non-essential amino acids and multiple unsaturated fatty acids.

- Fortifies the natural disease-resistance system and establishes a beneficial alimentary environment, working alongside the antibodies to assist in eliminating any digestive tract disease challenges.

- Yeast extracts: promote growth of the desired lactic acid and bifidus bacteria flora in the digestive tract, lower intestinal pH and thus inhibiting intestinal colonisation by pathogens.

- Branch-chain polypeptides and non-essential amino acids: exert positive action on the formation of muscle tissue, cause the musculature to develop and, at the same time, store more intramuscular fat.

- Multiple unsaturated fatty acids: crucial effect in reducing the negative effect of stress reactions and play a decisive role in the constitution of the body’s own prostaglandins.


- In DNA, the nucleotides are bearers of inheritance information.

- In RNA, they ensure that the information contained in the hereditary genes can be converted.

- By ensuring a readily available supply of nucleotides, optimum development and a high daily weight gain increase can be substantially improved through increased cell-division rate.

- Most cells will, within a very long time and with substantial amounts of energy manufacture the necessary quantities of nucleotides for cell division themselves. By careful isolation and enzymatically breaking down the DNA, nucleotides become more readily available in greater quantities.

- Therefore, cells with an increased cell-division rate (faster growth) can benefit from this additional supply. Energy consumption drops and energy requirement is saved. This effect is particularly apparent in the epithelium cells of the small intestine, the cells of the immune system and in the liver cells.

If you have any queries at all please feel free to call our office on 01948 668100, email to [email protected] or click here to visit our website to see our whole range of animal colostrum.