Scan reveals 1.87 lambs per ewe despite saving on expensive bolus
Now that the holidays are over and I have failed miserably to keep any of my New Year's resolutions, it's time to get things in place for lambing in 2014.
The flock has scanned very well at 1.87 lambs/ewe so it's game on for March 1. I was pleased with the scan and it is fairly consistent with other years, which is interesting as this year I didn't bother with any expensive mineral boluses or blocks (which are supposed to do wondrous things for ewes prior to going to the ram).
I just gave them a cheap 30c/per head mineral dose before mating, and perhaps it wasn't even necessary to do that, but I am a sucker for marketing.
Since scanning I have been busy separating, vaccinating, foot-bathing and housing my ewes. I house some of my ewes on cattle slats which are bedded down with a thick mat of straw.
This stops the sheep from putting their feet through the gaps and it works really well, giving a dual purpose to my shed. My sheep are generally all in good condition with the odd thin or lame one, which will need extra care and feed.
The good weather in the back end of the year has helped the flock and made life a lot easier. When I think back to last year, I had my whole flock housed for nearly two months at this stage, and by the time lambing started in March I was exhausted.
I am trying a new feed ration this year. It is a high-protein ration made up of 24pc soya, 18pc rolled barley, 17pc ground maize, 15pc beet pulp nuts, 11pc rape pellets, 10pc soya hulls, 3pc molasses and 2pc minerals.
A friend of mine, John Kelly from Baltinglass, has been using this ration formulated with Teagasc sheep specialist Dr Tim Keady, and they have found it excellent.