Sheep: Improved weather helped raise the lambing siege
Published 30/03/2016 | 02:30
The lambing season is finally coming to a close. It had more than a few ups and downs, starting off with persistent rain, which made life much more difficult for feeding and lambing the ewes outside.
Fields that we consider dry let us down for the first time that I can remember. After the incessant rainfall left us there were a dry few weeks which made life and lambing much easier.
The ewes that lambed indoors could be let out, ewes lambing outdoors had comfort, lambs thrived and fertiliser could be applied to grazing ground.
Overall the lambing was similar to other years. Mortality is running at about 7-8pc. The usual problems are occurring, which meant this number rose higher than I would have liked.
The fox visited a few nights, leaving two lambs dead. Still births also added to this number. This occurred in ewes of all ages with no pattern to be seen.
A few lambs born were found without breaking the membrane sack and also a few cases of mastitis and in the last week three cases of watery mouth. Of the lambs that got the watery mouth, two made full recovery and one passed away.
I treated the lambs with a strong probiotic and put them under an infrared lamp. The lambs that got watery mouth were born outside and the ewes nor the lambs never saw a shed. There is always a reason for these things to happen.
One of the lambs with watery mouth was born to a ewe that only had milk on in one teat! That explained that the lamb got little or no colostrum in his first 24 hours. The ewe must have escaped the checks last year for culling. However, indoors I haven't had a single case of watery mouth.