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Lactation Jeff Semler Extension Educator, AGNR Washington County Small Ruminant Program
Lactation Begins with the birth of offspring Is a very demanding period in the female’s production cycle.
What’s happening?! Huge metabolic change Negative energy balance The udder tissue is secreting milk. Rumen capacity is increasing.
Extra nutrition is needed Why? To prevent pregnancy toxemia (ketosis) and milk fever. To support milk production Multiple births To ensure the growth of strong, healthy babies. East Friesian EwesPhoto courtesy of Crane Creek
Nutrition During Lactation Energy (TDN) is the nutrient most likely to be deficient in the diet of ewes and does. Nutrient requirements vary by species, age, size (weight), and number of young. To meet energy needs, you usually need to feed some grain. Increase grain slowly and incrementally. If forage quality is low, you may also need to supplement protein and calcium.
Nutrition during lactation What you should do Balance a ration to determine what and how much to feed Evaluate your ration to see if what you are feeding is meeting the nutrient requirements of your lactating females. Adjust, if necessary What we usually do Pasture, Free choice hay + some grain http://www.sheepandgoat.com/feed.html#ration
Nutrition During Lactation Lactation is a very demanding period for ewes. Consider the composition of ewe’s milk; 82% water, 25%+ milk protein (on a dry basis), 25 to 30% fat, high levels of calcium and milk sugars. Thus, if ewes are to milk well, they need a high quantity of feed, that is high in energy, protein, minerals and vitamins. Unlimited access to water is also important.
Nutrition During Lactation Females that are suckling more than one offspring will produce more milk because of the nursing stimuli. So, females with twins need more feed, and of a higher quality than ones with singles. If at all possible, they should be separated based upon number of young suckled and fed accordingly.
Body condition is very important when lactation feed needs are to be considered. Usually, during lactation (especially with twins) the female is in a negative energy balance. She simply cannot eat enough to satisfy her energy requirement with a forage based diet. It is normal for her to lose weight during lactation. In fact, fat females at weaning time should be eyed very suspiciously, their milk production may be low. The key is not to allow her to lose so much weight that she cannot regain it during the maintenance period. Nutrition During Lactation
Often the forgotten nutrient Lactating females require a lot of water if they are expected to milk well. It is estimated that lactating females require 100 percent more water than non-lactating ones. They should have a free-choice supply of fresh, clean water at all times. Heated water bowls should be used during the winter to encourage water consumption. Ice is not water, it is a state of water. Water bowls should be checked and cleaned on a daily basis. Water
The average dairy goat has a 10-month lactation period and produces six to eight pounds of milk per day during that lactation.(www.ADGA.org) Those averages vary from breed to breed and then from goat to goat. Dairy Goats
While lactating ewes of any breed can be milked, as with other species of livestock, there are specialized dairy sheep breeds. Worldwide there are more than a dozen dairy sheep breeds, but only a few are available in the United States: East Friesian and Lacaune. Specialized dairy breeds produce 400 to 1,100 pounds of milk per lactation, whereas the milk production from conventional sheep breeds is only 100 to 200 pounds of milk per lactation. Dairy Sheep
Meat Does & Ewes 60 - 120 days Some producers allow the female to wean her own offspring. Meat Animals
Proper feed bunk management Make sure all ewes or does can eat at the same time. Feed ewe lambs and doelings separately from mature females. Segregate and feed based on number of offspring if possible. Do not feed on the ground.(exception: frozen ground)
Calcium Milk Fever, also known as Periparturient Hypocalcaemia, is usually seen in high producing dairy goats or dairy sheep one to three weeks after kidding or lambing. Calcium requirements virtually double during late pregnancy. Initially the doe is ataxic, nervous and hyperactive but quickly becomes sternally recumbent. The doe stops eating and the ears are cold.
Calcium Milk Fever can usually treated with an intravenous and/or sub-cutaneous injection of calcium solution. Response should be dramatic. The animal usually starts to shiver and brightens up by the time treatment is finished. If she does not, it may be that the diagnosis is incorrect or is complicated by another disease. Caution - Calcium can easily cause death if given by intravenous injection to an animal with normal calcium levels.
Calcium Time to feed the pure legume (alfalfa) hay as part of the lactation diet. Grains (corn, barley, and oats) and soybean meal are low in calcium. Forages are higher in calcium, especially legumes. Supplemental Ca Complete grain mixes Mineral supplements Dicalcium phosphate Limestone Bonemeal If a low quality forage is fed, calcium should be added to the grain ration.
Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland or udder of the female. The term mastitis comes from the Greek words: mastos (for breast) and itis (for inflammation). Mastitis, especially the sub-clinical form, can be a significant problem in sheep and goat flocks that are managed intensively for meat or milk production. Mastitis
As the name implies, less obvious and may only be detectable by measures of the milk's cellular content (somatic cells). Use a CMT to detect mastitis Subclinical Mastitis
This form of the disease is important for the following reasons: It is 15 to 40 times more prevalent than the clinical form. It usually precedes the clinical form. It is of long duration. It is difficult to detect. It reduces milk production. It adversely affects milk quality. Subclinical Mastitis
Clinical mastitis (that which is observable) is characterized by visible abnormalities in the udder or milk. These may vary greatly in severity during the course of the disease. Clinical cases can be defined as subacute (mildly clinical) when symptoms include only minor alterations in the milk and the affected portion of the udder such as clots, flakes, or discolored secretion. The udder may also be slightly swollen and tender. Clinical Mastitis
These cases are characterized by sudden onset, pain, heat, swelling, redness and reduced as well as altered milk secretion from affected halves. Abnormal secretion in the form of clots, flakes, or watery milk is the clinical sign most consistently observed. Depending upon severity and the causative agent, acute mastitis cases may have significant systemic involvement characterized by fever, depression, and weakness. In its most severe form it can be fatal. Such cases call for immediate attention. Acute Mastitis
Staphylococcus aureusis the most important mastitic pathogen in most herds. Other Streptococci (Streptococcus agalactia, Streptococcus uberis, and Streptococcus dysgalactia) are commonly isolated from infected udders. Pasteurellahaemolytica is also isolated from mastitic glands and is believed to be associated with suckling kids. Corynebacteriumpseudotuberculosis is often isolated from infected udders where there is a herd problem with abscesses. Additional organisms less commonly isolated from mastitic glands include coliforms and Mycoplasma spp. COMMON MASTITIS PATHOGENS
Increase milking frequency. Infusion of the affected gland with a commercially prepared intramammary infusion product. In cases where the infection is systemic (throughout the body), treatment procedures should include the above described protocol for local inflammation involving the udder plus the intramuscular administration of antibiotics such as penicillin, erythromycin, or tetracycline. Antihistamines, anti-inflammatory agents, or fluid therapy may be required in severe cases. Owners are advised to consult their local veterinarian for specific advice on therapy under such circumstances. Treatment
Weaning often takes place at a time when females are still producing a lot of milk. In this is the case, grain should be reduced 1 to 2 weeks prior to weaning. For the last week or so prior to weaning, no grain should be fed to the ewes. For the last several days before weaning, ewes should be fed a low quality grass hay or straw. Weaning
After the young have been weaned, the females should be maintained in dry lot and fed low quality grass hay or straw until their udders start to dry up and recede. It is not necessary to remove water from ewes at weaning. It can also be dangerous during hot weather. Do not turn ewes onto pasture immediately after weaning. Spring grass is high in protein, water, and other nutrients which promote milk production. The overriding concern at weaning time for ewes is to prevent mastitis. Weaning
Effect of a lower critical temperature on the energy requirements of a goat needing 2.8 lbs. of TDN.
Periparturient egg rise Small ruminant females suffer a temporary loss of immunity to parasites around and after parturition.
DON’T’s Introduce new animals Mix pregnant ewe lambs and doelings with mature females Mix lactating females with dry females Overfeed Underfeed Stress
Mastitis in ewes and does http://www.sheepandgoat.com/articles/mastitis.html Weaning lambs http://www.sheep101.info/201/weaning.html Goat Weaning Management http://www.extension.org/pages/Goat_Weaning_Management Resources
Thank you for your attention. Questions? Small Ruminant Program