Conception rates have dropped since last year
Published 08/02/2012 | 06:00
The ewes were all scanned at the beginning of January. We do not have as high a conception rate as last year since we're back to 68pc from last year's 75pc.
Our scan results are 405 ewes with a lamb crop of 1.87/ewe, 170 repeat ewes with a lamb crop of 1.64 with 31 ewes empty. The overall average is 1.70 lambs/ewes to the ram.
The empty ewes are too high at 5pc, but maybe this is something we just have to get used to when using AI. As regards the ewes in-lamb, we have 51pc twins (204 ewes), 18pc with triplets (73 ewes) and 31pc with singles (124 ewes).
The hogget ewes scanned poorly, probably because a lot of those that reared lambs last year turned out to be carrying singles this year. Why was this?
Maybe they were not heavy enough going to ram in the first year or not weaned early enough to give them time to recover after rearing their lambs. I'm making a mental note to treat this group of ewes separately in the future so they can achieve their potential.
After scanning was finished, the ewes were divided up according to the number of lambs they were carrying and their body condition score.
We started to feed the triplets and two pens of lighter twins 0.3kg of meal on January 9. These will be getting meal for nine weeks before they are due to lamb. We find that starting them off early helps hold their body condition score because the last thing we need is a thin ewe, fed well for the last four weeks of pregnancy only to produce a big lamb, but without the capacity to produce enough milk to feed it.
Since the third week of January, the remainder of the twins have been fed 0.3kg of meal. These will be pushed up to 1kg at lambing time with the triplets getting 0.2kg more. Once we go to 0.5kg, we will start to feed twice a day.