Management and Nutrition for Milking Sheep in Short and Frequent Lactations
Kochendoerfer, N.; Thonney, M. L.
Highly-valued cheese and yogurt products are made from sheep milk, with most originating from Europe. Due to limitations on imports, dairy sheep in the US are highly inbred and farmers milk them in one group lactation of 180 days or fewer per year. In October 2016, we began testing an innovative model for sheep milk and lamb production with non-dairy ewes milked in short, frequent lactations. The lambs have been raised on the cold-milk lambar system. In our fourth 73-day lactation group, milk production per day is about the same as that of dairy sheep during early lactation. Health, fertility, and lamb survival have been excellent and we are finding surprising results about the best level of fiber in diets of lactating ewes.
This information was presented at the 2017 Cornell Nutrition Conference for Feed Manufacturers, organized by the Department of Animal Science In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. Softcover copies of the entire conference proceedings may be purchased at http://ansci.cals.cornell.edu/extension-outreach/adult-extension/dairy-management/order-proceedings-resources.
sheep; dairy; milk; nutrition; STAR system; management