How one farmer has lowered lambing mortality rate on his farm
Another busy and eventful lambing season is coming to an end with less than 10 ewes left to lamb.
The remaining few will all have Mountain Blackface (Lanark type) lambs. The Lanark rams were let with the ewes at the end of the breeding season to cover any repeats.
Overall we had a very successful lambing season with mortality running around the 5pc mark, which is well on target for the farm.
Lowering mortality at lambing didn't happen by chance. Several factors contributed to reducing mortality this year including;
- Good supervision at lambing
- A good balanced and calculated diet pre-lambing
- An increase in lamb birth weights
- A good supply of milk at the ewes
- Preparation for lambing
The above points all played a part. I often find stepping back and evaluating a situation to see where we can improve matters or see what worked. This process can be applied to everything done on the farm.
This spring I washed the udders of the ewes after lambing when the ewes were in the individual lambing pens. I found this very beneficial for many reasons. I could identify ewes with mastitis, ewes blank on one side, milkiness, colostrum levels, large teats which are difficult for lambs to suckle.
I believe cleaning the teats of ewes coming off straw bedding or slats helps prevent lambs pick up disease from dirty teats. Infections can become a big problem when lambing indoors: good hygiene is critically important to prevent infection.
Supervision at lambing is important and particularly when lambing indoors. Mis-mothering can be a problem if too many ewes lamb together without supervision. We took it in shifts at night, making sure that someone was on watch at all times.