1 March 2002

Ewe vitamin E lifts lamb survival rate

SUPPLEMENTING ewe rations with Vitamin E and selenium can increase lamb survival rates and improve efficiency for a cost of just 15-20p a ewe a day, says Trouw Nutrition.

"About 35 to 40% of lamb deaths are still caused by a combination of chilling and starvation," adds the companys Lianne Whalley.

ADAS trials, based on ewes receiving 150iu vitamin E a day, increased levels in colostrum and reduced mortality in lambs from 14.5% to 10.5%. To achieve this, a level of 100iu/kg vitamin E is required in the concentrate fed. Alternatively, a mineral supplement with 3000mg/kg vitamin E can be used.

Feeding ewes selenium pre and post-lambing to raise levels in colostrum can also help prevent hypothermia in newborn lambs. Trouw estimates that 60% of flocks in the UK have a marginal selenium status. &#42