Abomasal bloat is a serious and life-threatening condition that affects approximately 1 in 3 bottle-fed lambs and kids. The best way to prevent this devastating condition is to feed your lambs and kids with yoghurtised or soured milk for every feed from 5 days of age (please note this is not the same as adding a bit of yoghurt to the milk just before a feed!). When changing from whole milk to yoghurtised milk, start with warm feeds and gradually reduce the temperature at each feed until all feeds are being fed cold.
You will need:
- Milk powder (e.g. AnLamb milk replacer or MaxCare Lamb & Kid)
- Large bucket (9L or 10L) with lid, with a volume mark on bucket at 8L. If your bucket doesn’t have volume markers on it… Before you start, using a measuring jug, measure 8L of water into the bucket. Using a permanent marker draw a line on the inside of the bucket, at the level of the water.
- 200ml plain unsweetened acidophilus yoghurt
Recipe to make Yoghurtised Milk
Makes enough to feed 3 lambs for about 3 days or so.
- Into the large bucket, add 1kg milk powder to 3L warm water and mix well (with a whisk or hand mixer) until powder has dissolved and no lumps are present.
- Add 200ml plain unsweetened acidophilus yoghurt (available from your supermarket) and mix thoroughly.
- Place the bucket, with the lid on, into your hot water cupboard and leave overnight or for 12+hours. Keeping the bucket warm and insulated will speed up the fermentation process. You might want to wrap a hot water bottle around the bucket and insulate it with towels.
- After about 12 hours (this may take longer if bucket has cooled down), the milk should look and smell like yoghurt. If it doesn’t look like yoghurt yet, leave for longer (consider adding a fresh hot water bottle to keep the contents warm).
- Once the batch of milk has become yoghurt, remove 200ml from the bucket and keep in the fridge (clearly labelled so no one in the family eats it!) to use as the ‘starter’ to add to your next batch of milk.
- To the large bucket, add cold water to bring the volume up to the 8L mark and mix thoroughly.
- Your yoghurtised milk is now ready to be fed to your lambs and kids at normal quantities.
- Each batch of yoghurtised milk will last for 5 days in a cool place. Always check that it smells good (like yoghurt) and discard if it starts to smell ‘off’.
- Remember to make up a new batch 24 hours before you need it.
Abomasal bloat is an emergency requiring rapid veterinary attention. If you are concerned about one of your animals, please contact Anexa Vets on 0800 284 3838. We are here to help.