This article describes the automatic feeder machine manufactured by Grober Nutrition Inc., for lambs feeding.How Feeder Technology Contributes to Sustainability
Investment in technological innovation is one means for sheep producers to help ensure the long-term sustainability of their business and contribute to the longevity of the industry.
It isn’t necessarily the technology itself, but rather the impact it can have on managing labour, time and financial resources as well as increasing production volume and efficiency.
The Automatic Lamb Feeder is one such innovation that is making a difference for some Canadian shepherds.
Producers place milk powder into the automatic feeder machine where it is mixed with warm water and heated to
The feeder equipment is equipped with six nipples that provide fresh warm milk for up to 120 lambs 24/7 and can be assembled in any sheep barn in about 20 minutes.
Developed 15 years ago by Foerster Technik, a German-based company, this easy-to-use technology is widely distributed in Canada by Grober Nutrition Inc., retailing at $4,995.00 plus GST.The Situation
In an industry where labour is hard to come by and even harder to keep, getting all the necessary work done can be difficult on the best of days.
For sheep producers, this is especially true during lambing.
Multiple births, which happen more often than not, can lead to hours and hours of bottle or pail feeding lambs which were either orphaned by their mother, or are not pushy enough to get to the front of the line.
The reality is the average producer is crunched for time, so two to three bottle feedings per day is about the norm.
Unfortunately, this may not be enough to keep mortality rates down, or to produce consistent quality lambs.The Opportunity
The Automatic Lamb Feeder is a production tool that can help sheep producers who are struggling with high lamb orphan rates.
Jan Ziemerink, Automation Services Manager at Grober Nutrition Inc., has worked with the Automatic Lamb Feeder since the early 1990s. Grober recognized the value of this feeder machine as a production tool and was instrumental in the development and launch of the feeder machine in Canada. Over the past 17 years, Ziemerink has seen the lamb feeder do some great things on sheep farms across Canada, but as is with any technology, he has also seen the challenges.
Ziemerink says that the biggest challenge goes back to proper management, which is essential to ensure producers get the longest life span out of the feeder as possible.
Bill McCutcheon, an Ontario sheep producer who has owned an Automatic Lamb Feeder since 1994, agrees, but goes one step further in saying, “You also have to have rodent control. Do not keep the lines on the floor because mice will certainly chew on them.
“The first time we weaned we just let the powder run out,” he says. “But the sheep just drank all the water and urinated all over the pens.”
ey Success Factors
According to Ziemerink, one of the key success factors when adopting the Automatic
For McCutcheon, he says that it really was a “learn as you go” type situation, however,
Through Grober’s experience with the Automatic Lamb Feeder, Ziemerink has come to see how helpful and open producers are in the Canadian sheep industry. Ziemerink says some of the best suggestions he gets about the feeder machine are from the producers already using the technology. Traveling to farms all across Canada, as well as exhibiting at farm shows, Grober has had the opportunity to talk to many sheep producers about their experiences.
McCutcheon’s ultimate learning experience was recognizing just how much time can be saved using the feeder machine.
For more information on Grober or the Automatic Lamb Feeder call 1-800-265-7863 x 210.
article by: Courtney Denard, MSc
This article was originally published in the CSF publication Points of View