Ark Veterinary Centre


Mar 20, 2018

The #ColostrumIsGold campaign, created by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) aims to highlight the responsible use of antibiotics in new born animals by providing the right amount of colostrum within a couple of hours of birth- something all farmers have the potential to achieve.

The #ColostrumIsGold,

Antibiotic resistance is a very real problem. Just last year in the practice we faced catastrophic problems with cases of resistant E.Coli that could not be treated. It is our responsibility to ensure that antibiotics are available in the future and for when we need them most. The best ways to do this is to avoid over use of      antibiotics in healthy animals (prophylactic use) by improving   colostrum quality and being stringent with hygiene.

Receiving adequate colostrum, quickly enough, could virtually eliminate Watery Mouth (E. Coli infection) in lambs without need for antibiotic treatments.

Best practice is based around getting the 3Q’s- ‘Quality, Quantity and Quickness’- of colostrum delivery right. Colostrum is vital to new born animals as it contains antibodies to provide immunity and it is rich in essential nutrients and energy for growth.

Rule of thumb is 210–290 ml of colostrum per kg body weight, so a 5kg lamb at birth needs 1 litre of colostrum in its first 24 hours of life to give it essential levels of natural immunity. Importantly, the first feed of colostrum (50ml/kg) should be within 2 hours of birth. Artificial colostrum powders for lambs are poor and Mums colostrum is best. Failing that– pinch some from a milkier ewe or use cows colostrum.

Hygiene reduces infectious challenge. We can achieve this by concentrating on the basics– wear gloves when lambing sheep, keep pens clean and well bedded and pay attention to navel care by applying straight iodine liberally.

For more information visit or speak to one of us at the practice. An information sheet has been made up on this topic following our Flock Health Club meeting– if you would like one please ask!