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Thursday 19 October 2017

Dosing the ewes with minerals delivers hardier lambs

Ger Cummins (16) from Cork pictured taking part in his first ploughing competion in the Confined vintage class at the annual ploughing match at Clogagh, Co Cork. Photo: Denis Boyle
Ger Cummins (16) from Cork pictured taking part in his first ploughing competion in the Confined vintage class at the annual ploughing match at Clogagh, Co Cork. Photo: Denis Boyle
John Large

John Large

We have just three weeks to get everything ready for lambing which kicks off on March 6. All ewes have gotten their booster shot of Covexin 10 to cover the ewe from Chlostridial diseases and also supply antibodies for her lamb, which the lamb will get from the ewes colostrum.

The ewes all got a mineral dose of 20ml Twin Plus, we have been doing this for the last few years and find the lambs are hardier at birth with very little problems getting them up and sucking.

All ewes are getting meal, the strongest single ewes only started on February 20.

The triplets are on 0.8kg, with the twins on 0.5kg, and the singles on 0.3 kg of meal. We are feeding the triplets and twins twice daily, and the singles once per day.

Once you go up to 0.5kg of meal it is best to feed in two feeds.

The mix we are using is made up of whole oats, soya hulls, soya bean and a small amount of molasses.

We will increase the crude protein in the ration from 16pc to 19pc two weeks before lambing by increasing the amount of soya bean in the ration from 15pc to 20pc per ton.

This should mean we have plenty of milk at lambing.

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Next week we will clean out both sheds as dung is getting high. When this happens ewes find it more difficult to eat their meal and it also takes more straw to keep a dry bed under them.

We scanned the repeat ewes and ewe lambs at the end of January. When we look at our ewes we have 20pc with triplets, 48pc with twins, 28pc with singles and 5pc empty.

Empty rate

We have a lambing percentage of 1.78 per ewe put to the ram. We are happy enough but would like more twins and the empty rate is too high.

The ewe lambs, due to lamb from April 1, scanned well with 78 singles, 34 twins, 3 triplets and 10 empty. This gives us a crop of 1.2 ewes to the ram.

After scanning they all received their first injection of Covexin 10 and will get a booster shot on March 1. We also dosed them for worms and fluke using Cydectin and Flukeiver.

The singles were put back out to grass only for another month.

The rest (twins and triplets) are getting very good grass which is allocated in three-day blocks. We used this system last year and only gave meal for the last four weeks before lambing.

It worked well so we see no reason to change. They should be all housed for lambing by the end of March.

After a mild winter we have a good cover of grass on the farm.

The fields that were closed off first in early November are very good. We spread 30 units of nitrogen on all of the dry fields last week.

With nitrogen out a month earlier than last year, hopefully we'll have enough grass to keep ewes milking after lambing and we'll be able to cut back on meal.

This would be a great help both financially and work-wise.

John Large farms at Gortnahoe, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.


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