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QUESTION
How long after lambing does a ewe produce antibody-rich colostrum? Or, what is the average volume of colostrum produced by a ewe? What constituents (besides antibodies) distinguish colostrum from ewe's milk? Practical application: I have a ewe who lost twins, and wish to save as much useful colostrum from her as I can obtain.

Thank you!

(P.S. I also edit Virginia Shepherd, a quarterly publication of the Virginia Sheep Producers Association, and am putting together a "timeline for the ewe and her lambs," that describes important times in gestation, lactation, and the young lamb's life. 


ANSWER

The information I will quote is from the Pipestone Veterinary Supply Catalog. I recommend the catalog for supplies but also as an excellent tool. You can access the Pipestone Catalog from SheepNet under Resources.

"Colostrum usually accumulates in the ewe's udder during the final few days of pregnancy. It is also produced during the first 24 hours after birth but is diluted progressively as milk production increases. Colostrum contains immunoglobulins, some of which line the intestional wall while the rest are absorbed into the bloodstream to prevent infections. Colostrum contains nutrients which fuel heat production and help prevent hypothermia (chilling). Colostrum contains growth factors, which help promote gut growth and differentiation espically during the first 24-48 hours after birth, thus helping to establish the intestional route as the lambs sole source of nutrients."







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