Sheep... Final preparations for lambing
We scanned the repeat ewes and the ewe-lambs at the end of January. Now that we have all the figures our scan results are as follows - 1.78 lambs per ewe to the ram. We had 32 empty ewes, most of these were sold last week.
We kept five younger ewes that were a bit light and we'll try to get them in-lamb next year. They are with the ewe-lambs that are in-lamb. We are feeding all the ewes that will lamb from March 8 onwards. We are using a coarse ration made up of rolled barley, whole barley, pulp nuts, soya-bean meal and 25kg minerals.
All these products are in the top group for energy, with their UFL over 1.00. We are feeding the triplets and twins twice per day, giving the triplets 0.9kg and the twins 0.75kg of meal. The singles are getting 0.4kg in one feed. Our ration is a 19pc crude protein, this should be high enough for the ewes to produce plenty of colostrum for their new born lambs. This feed is the most important of a lamb's life.
The lambs need this feed in the first three hours of life. Usually the lamb will find the teat and suck by itself but sometimes we may have to either help the lamb feed from the ewe or by milking the ewe and feeding the lamb with a stomach tube. This job can be both time consuming and testing of one's patience, but is the most important job at lambing time.
Any ewes that present with over-sized teats or udders that are near the ground should be marked and culled after weaning. Any other ewes that have problems, such as prolapse or with milk in only one side of the udder, are also marked for culling.
Make sure when marking these ewes that you put a permanent mark on them, we take a notch out of her ear tag, this way they can be easily identified as they are put through the crush. These problem ewes take up most of your time, therefore the most important thing is to make sure they are not there again next year.
With about 100 triplets to lamb every effort will be made to wet foster as many as we can onto single ewes as they lamb. No ewe will be let out to grass with three lambs. Any orphan lambs not fostered will be reared artificially or sold if possible.
During lambing the field technician from ICBF will be tagging, weighing and recording all lambs as soon as they are dry after lambing.