1. Keep a good system. We had a lot of Cade lambs this year and you must not get muddled and forget about a lamb. Numbering them is essential at first. You know when they arrived and can keep track of their progress. We use an automatic milk feeder due to the sheer numbers we have. We use a Britmix Milk Maid 2000 automatic machine with Lamlac milk replacer made by Volac. Make sure machine is calibrated and functional before lambs start arriving.
2. Put new lambs straight on to the teat for 30-40 seconds, do this every one – two hours throughout the day when training. Remember that not all lambs are good sucklers at first. Some are still full from being on their mother, some have never learnt and some are just awkward.
NB – Filling a Cade lamb up from a hand held bottle of milk makes them bad drinkers. Their tummys are filled and they become lethargic and dependant on you for food. Little and often is the key to success with Cade lambs, the machines make this easier and encourage lambs to feed themselves after a while.
4. As the days go by, new lambs coming into the system will be too small to compete with more advanced ones. We therefore have 4 stages of progression, stage 1 is effectively the nursery stage with plenty of intervention from us in teaching them how to suckle, and we always keep a couple of decent lambs back to lead by example. The nursery pen is small so the lambs don’t get lost, ideally about 2m x 2m.
We put heat lamps in stages 1 and 2, close to the teats so they are never too far away from milk. Once moved on to stages 2, 3 and 4 the lambs are able to feed themselves and we group them based on size/age.
5. At about 3 weeks, the lambs are turned out into much larger barns allowing them to move around more freely. They have access to solid feed from a creep feeder at a week of age. After about 5-6 weeks we will wean them according to weight (minimum 10kg). We do this due to the expense of the milk powder
Throughout the process lambs are bedded down on straw which is refreshed every day. They are monitored daily for signs of ill health, the fairly intensive nature of the Cade process can mean susceptibility to Orph, E-coli scours and coccidiosis. The automatic feeding machines should be regularly re-calibrated and cleaned.