Author Topic: Feeding sweet whey to lambs  (Read 1592 times)

Offline caithd

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Feeding sweet whey to lambs
« on: February 18, 2013, 12:52:07 PM »
I am wondering about the possibility of feeding the whey from our cheese making back to our lambs. We will be processing about 30 gallons of sheep's milk every 3-4 days into rennet-set cheeses - I think this gives sweet whey (over acid whey).

In previous years we have just dumped the whey on gardens as fertilizer but would like to give it to the lambs as extra nutrient if that is suitable. Our lambs are weaned around 45 days when we begin cheese making so any extra will help with their growth.

Should we dilute it at all? Does it need to be pasteurized to stop it from becoming more acidic?

What is your experience?


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Offline Spellogue

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Re: Feeding sweet whey to lambs
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2013, 01:11:59 PM »
 Just noticed this topic and though I'd offer my thoughts.

I've never fed whey to lambs.  I've found their dietary needs to be rather delicate, at least in the first 4 weeks.  If you bottle feed you could consider using whey instead of water when mixing milk replacer.  The increased protein and trace minerals could be a benefit, but the ph difference could be upsetting to the lambs' systems.   Another concern would be bacterial contamination if the whey isn't pasteurized just before use.  The whey alone wouldn't be nutritious enough.  Personally, I wouldn't start my first experiment in this area of whey supplementation until three weeks or so before weaning, when they're already soundly consuming hay and grain.

I relish whey,  using as much as I can in cooking, bread baking or lacto-fermenting, and even freeze some for those uses in winter.  Any of our excess whey gets fed to the dogs, pigs, or chickens.  It seems to work as an excellent supplement to their diets. I've never heard of anyone feeding it to sheep or goats, but it is an intriguing idea.  Could be you might try it with hoggets or aged ewes/rams before feeding it to lambs.

Do let us know how it goes if you move forward on this.
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Offline Priestman

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Re: Feeding sweet whey to lambs
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 07:52:21 PM »
I missed this the first time through as well.  My adults have not been interested in whey, but it might be worthwhile to try as a supplement for the lambs.  I wouldn't worry about contamanints or pastuerizing.  Let me know how it went.  I will likely give a try next year.

Offline WovenMeadows

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Re: Feeding sweet whey to lambs
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 08:33:13 AM »
I think the primary danger or concern would come with whey taking the place of milk (for nursing lambs) that should be drunk, as the whey is not as nutritious. I.e. don't let lambs fill up on whey when they should be drinking milk. If bottle feeding with a formula mix, you can probably use the whey in place of the water, effectively "spiking" the formula with extra nutrients. Once the lambs are at the age when they are or could be weaned, then it shouldn't be a problem to feed whey ad lib. Here's a link discussing some studies, and generally whey is pretty beneficial to all animals across the board: http://future.aae.wisc.edu/publications/farmstead_whey_use.pdf

Offline Spellogue

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Re: Feeding sweet whey to lambs
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 11:53:28 AM »
Great article.

I've fed a lot of whey to almost all of our livestock, but had been leery of feeding it to ruminants up to this point, I can't say why.  I may start to experiment with it a bit more though.

 I really want to try making some of those fermented whey beverages, that'll be for me.   ;)
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Offline meyerandray

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Re: Feeding sweet whey to lambs
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 02:24:23 PM »
How do you give your chickens whey, as a substitute for drinking water, or do you mix it in with dried bread or something? I have tried putting out whey in a bowl as is, but nobody seemed to touch it, any suggestions?

Offline Spellogue

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Re: Feeding sweet whey to lambs
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2013, 12:43:19 AM »
At first I set it out in a bowl with a little cracked corn in it and that draws their attention to it.  Once they start eating the corn they usually finish up the whey.  After they've had it that way a few times the corn isn't always necessary.  I also dilute it with water and use that to fill their waterer from time to time.

Pigs and dogs climb over each other to get to it when I pour it in a trough or bowl for them.
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Offline meyerandray

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Re: Feeding sweet whey to lambs
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 07:13:45 AM »
Ok I'll try that.  We have a friend with pigs, and I have been giving it to him, I've never tried giving it to my dog, I guess it could be a new treat for him!  Thanks, Celine

Offline Back 2 The Frotture

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Re: Feeding sweet whey to lambs
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2013, 03:46:14 PM »
15 liters of whey is the equivalent to 1kg of barley.  I takes about three to four weeks for the intestinal bacteria to adjust to the acidic diet and must be done slowly over time.

Offline Spellogue

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Re: Feeding sweet whey to lambs
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2013, 11:29:18 PM »
In the last few weeks I've cut the goat kids milk ration with whey on occasion after considering the comments in this thread.  I usually mix 1 part whey to 2 parts milk. The kids are between 5-10 weeks.  It's worked well so far. The kids don't notice a difference, attacking the bottle as usual. No adverse digestive effects, and their gain rate is good.  I haven't done it more than twice a week. They get a milk feeding only once a day now. 

I've only used sweet whey, mixing it just before feeding so as not to curdle the milk.  I haven't used whey from any semi-lactic coagulations for the kids, thinking that might be too low ph for them.  I'm wondering about that though since the majority of my makes have been Crottins, chevres, Neufchâtels, and the like lately.  Meanwhile, the pigs, dogs, and chickens are still getting all the high acid whey.


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