Sheep: Weaning stresses can hit lamb growth
The rainfall of recent days has provided the ideal stimulus to grass growth and blow-fly strike, both of which excel in warm wet conditions of late.
As with a lot of sheep ailments, prevention is better than cure and this certainly applies to blow-fly strike. It is a real pain to be taking in sheep on a daily basis to deal with maggots so preventative treatment is the preferred option.
However, one needs to be very careful to keep withdrawal periods in mind when selecting products. These can range from one week up to five or six weeks.
Even at a modest post weaning performance of 150g per day, lambs will achieve a live/weight gain of 6.3kg in a six week period, so we must be very conscious of this in selecting a suitable product to use.
Now is the time of year when most lambs will be weaned and our lambs are due for weaning this week. This is always a stressful time on the animal and it presents a significant challenge in the growth of the lambs.
Post weaning a number of factors will challenge lamb growth rate with three important ones being energy supply/feed quality, parasite challenge and trace element nutrition.
The weaned lamb still has a very high potential for growth, but in many instances this is not achieved due to issues with one or more of the factors listed above. First focus should be on the quality of the grass available to the lambs.
Low herbage mass (leafy) swards should be made available and lambs should not be pushed in terms of grazing low down into the sward horizon.