Preparation for Lambing

 

As lambing approaches, it is worth considering whether you are fully prepared, as once in full swing it is often hard to find time to eat and sleep, let alone pick up extra supplies!

Make sure you have all the sundries, like disposable long gloves, lubricant, needles and syringes, lamb feeding tubes etc. While good ewe nutrition and management will help prevent twin lamb disease and hypocalcaemia, it is always worth having some injectable calcium (e.g. Calciject 5 or 6) and oral energy drench for ewes (e.g. Ewe Go).

Consult your flock health plan or ask to speak to one of our vets for advice about which drugs you should have on hand to treat common lambing time problems.

Clostridial diseases kill rapidly and can affect all ages of sheep. Luckily, very effective vaccines exist, and lambs will be protected by absorbing antibodies from their mother’s colostrum. Maximise ewe and lamb protection by giving a booster dose of clostridial vaccine e.g. Heptavac P, 4-6 weeks prior to lambing.

Prevent other diseases in the lambing shed through good hygiene - always wear long gloves for lambings, and ensure lamb’s navels are dipped in iodine ASAP after birth. Practice good hygiene while tagging, castrating or tail docking lambs - dip the equipment in surgical spirit before each use. Disease spread can be limited by having one stomach tube for sick lambs and another for healthy lambs - storing both in a sterilising solution for babies’ bottles between use will help keep them clean.

Consider your lambing shed and pens - are they clean, dry and draught-free? Are they easy to clean out between ewes/batches? Do you have enough bedding? Now is the time to fix any leaking drinkers etc.

Some of the largest influences on lamb survival are all determined by how you look after the ewes: lamb birthweight, colostrum availability and quality, lamb vigour at birth.

  • Do you think your ewes might be suffering from sheep scab or liver fluke? Speak to one of our vets right away about controlling these diseases.
     
  • Are your ewes in the correct body condition? Does their ration provide sufficient energy and protein? Are their trace element requirements being met? Is there enough feed space for each ewe? If you are not sure the answer to all of these is “YES” then speak to us about how to find out.
     
  • Do you know which ewes require worming at lambing? Failure to treat will increase the contamination of the pasture for the lambs later in the season, and may impact on ewe performance.

Treating unnecessarily is both a waste of time and money and increases the risk of resistant worms on your farm.

Hopefully, we saw you at our lambing workshop and our lamb survival talk. If you missed them there will be a second lambing workshop on 9th March. Ring the office to register your interest: 01491 651479.(We may hold a second lamb survival talk if there is sufficient interest, please let us know if you missed the first one but would come to a second one).