Tackling prolapse rate, joint ill and watery mouth is next year's focus
This time of year on the farm is generally a quiet time. Lambing is over and all my ewes have been dosed, dagged and foot bathed and all lambs have received their first dose of the year.
Lambing went okay, with a lambing rate of 1.6 lambs per ewe by the end. If I'm honest, I have to admit that I'm quite disappointed considering the amount of effort that I put into having everything right.
I had the usual number of abortions, but I had a lot more prolapses than normal. I am putting this down to the ewes being in good condition from 2013 and subsequently ending up being a bit over-fed prior to lambing.
Then I lost a lot of lambs with joint ill and watery mouth. At least I got to the bottom of this problem by treating every lamb with bimoxyl LA, as prescribed by my vet, and by fully bathing the newborn lambs' navels with iodine.
I will also have to increase the amount of lime I am using when bedding down the sheds. The challenge for next year is not to have anymore cases of either problem. I believe it is important as farmers that we talk about these issues in a constructive way to help others eliminate similar problems.
It is noteworthy that the ewes that lambed outdoors with the minimum amount of attention achieved a lambing rate of up to 1.75 lamb/ewe indicating that infection picked up in the shed was the prime killer of my lambs.
I headed along to my second STAP meeting of the year a few weeks ago. I find that these few hours chatting with other farmers is really helpful. The topics varied from grassland management and measurement to soil fertility and lamb thrive post-lambing.