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Lambing - Keep your Ewes Happy


Lambing News

Why keeping ewes well fed and content can help lambs thrive during lambing season.

Care for the Ewe
Careful preparations before lambing begins can help to achieve good growth rates in new lambs.  The body condition of ewes in early pregnancy is a key factor in later milk production.  A body condition score of CS 3-3.5 for lowland ewes and 2.5-3 for upland ewes is ideal.  Insufficient dietary protein at the point at which the foetus puts greater demand on energy and protein can limit udder development which, in turn can make it difficult for ewes to produce the required volume of colostrum to feed her new-born.

The Importance of Good Hygiene

During lambing it is essential to keep bedding clean and dry in order to limit the chance of disease and infection that can cause loss of life.

The First 6-8 Weeks of Growth

The first 6-8 weeks of growth for new lambs is largely down to the lactation of the ewe.  By the end of this period she will be past peak lactation and lambs will supplement their diet with grass.  If a lamb has not grown to its potential during these early weeks their feed conversion efficiency can be up to as much as half that as a lamb that has fulfilled its early life potential. (Approx. 8% at 100g/day compared to approx. 16% at 300g/day).

Twins can be at risk of this slower development as their diet turns to grass.  The lower energy density of a mainly grass diet in twin lambs can be a contributing factor to a falling potential growth rate.

A Good Reason to Control Worms

As studies have shown that growth rate can be affected by as much as 50% when there is worm burden in the flock it is essential to maintain a well thought out approach to worm control.  

Scouring due to the onset of nematodirus outbreak can seriously affect the health and growth rates of lambs.  It is important to be aware of the risk of disease and take preventative measures to prevent high worm burdens from occurring.  The use of ‘clean pasture’ for young lambs will go a long way to decreasing worm burdens, as will the strategic use of anthelmintics.  Discussing a parasite control plan with your animal health advisor or vet is the best plan of action to protect your flock.

For more information on disease outbreaks see the Nadis report on our medicines page and see our range of lambing products including POMV medications you can visit our lambing products section.



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Posted by Kelly Quance

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