Today is the crucial weaning examination for our Lyons flock
Today sees one of the major events in the sheep farming year occurring at Lyons, with weaning taking place. The event is made all the more important as the Lyons flock is one of the Sheep Ireland CPT flocks, with a lot of extra data being collected.
Information on lamb weights and growth rate, muscle and fat depth and foot and dag scores are all collected on the day. This data will then be used to calculate the star ratings for the lambs at Lyons and will assist us in identifying our replacement ewe lambs for mating in October. In addition, all ewes will be body condition scored.
Ewes will not be housed after weaning but instead they will be heavily stocked on bare pasture for approximately two weeks. These ewes will then be used to clean out paddocks after the lambs or cattle until we look at flushing in August.
It's important not to forget about the ewes at this stage particularly when it comes to lameness. Our ewes will go through the footbath every 2-3 weeks as a routine preventative approach. We need to particularly vigilant for CODD (contagious ovine digital dermatitis) and any cases are immediately isolated from the remainder of the flock and receive specific antibiotic foot-bathing.
At the moment we use a formalin solution to treat the ewes, but we have varied this with bluestone and zinc sulphate in recent years. Special attention needs to be given to lameness in lambs also.
Lameness can severely impact lamb performance and in some severe cases impair carcass quality. Scald can be a particular issue on lush after-grass if the weather is wet so its important to stay on top of this. As lambs should be going through the race at least every fortnight for drafting it is not much extra work to footbath them also.
Silage was harvested at Lyons in late May and re-growths are coming along well. This after- grass will form the major part of the diet for the weaned lamb.