Tipp sheep farmer finds genius way to keep bird damage to bales to a minimum
All ewes were housed the second week of December and fed good round-bale silage. The ewes were scanned on December 31 which was almost 80 days since we inseminated the first lot.
The scanning identifies the number of lamb each ewe is carrying and to pick off late-lambing and empty ewes. We have 73 ewes to scan again, this will be done when we scan the ewe-lambs in early February.
We have a conception rate of 75pc to AI and a litter size of 1.92 per ewe. These are made up of 20pc with triplets, 50pc with twins and the remaining 30pc singles. The ewes are all divided into groups according to scan results and body condition.
After scanning our main objective is to concentrate on the ewes that need to be fed meal first; that is the triplets and any thin ewes.
Ewes offered the correct plane of nutrition during mid and late pregnancy will have an adequate supply of colostrum at lambing, and produce lambs close to optimum birth weight and with increased vigour.
The birth weight of lambs influences subsequent growth rate and weaning weight. Research shows that an increase in birth weight of 0.5kg can lead to an increase in weaning weight of 1.5kg.
Birth weight is also a major factor influencing lamb viability. Optimum lamb birth weight is influenced by litter size. Regardless of litter size, as lamb weight increases mortality declines but reaches a plateau at optimum birth weight.
The optimum birth weight, based on lamb mortality is 6kg for singles, 5.6kg for twins and 4.7kg for triplets. Our lambs generally weigh about 0.5kg less than this.