Ewes who have surplus colostrum at lambing, especially single bearing ewes, can have colostrum extracted from them and frozen for use when required by other lambs. This can be stored in a number of contraptions including ice cube trays, freezer bags or small juice bottles with screw tops (swap cap with teat when thawed and required), etc. but make sure you know how much fresh colostrum is in your storage units for ease when thawing out. Colostrum should only be stored for 12 months maximum.
If extracting a lot of colostrum and creating a large bank, it can be a timely procedure or if you have a ewe with small teats. So what other methods are there for milking the ewe other than using your fingers? One product on the market is an Udderly EZ sheep milker, it comes at a price (approx. £150) but does make colostrum collection easier. Another method would be a woman’s breast pump, although you do need sheep with very small teats for this to work!! A final possibility is a home made device! Use an inlet tube from a drench gun and attach it to the small end of a large syringe. Smooth the large end ensuring that it will seal well over the ewes teat and pull the trigger to extract.
Kirsten Williams, email@example.com
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