CLIVE’S TIP: ALWAYS CHECK THAT A LAMB HAS FED
YOU MAY see the lambs following their mother, and she stops to sniff them, but that’s not a guarantee they have had a decent feed and they can quickl y die of exposure and starvation, the main killer of lambs. It’s vital to check that each ewe’s teats are working, which means catching them to check. Don’t assume remove two lambs from a set of quads too as this season it’s likely to be economic. Trying to foster a lamb onto a ewe with her own single is usually too big a battle, as they are so strongly bonded to their own lamb and they can count.
Docking can start early (before six weeks old) using rubber rings. The tail dock should be long enough to cover the vulva of a ewe lamb, and the equivalent in the male. See the Sheep Code of Welfare on the MPI website.
We’ve got to stop pouring drench into sheep that don’t need it. Already there are flocks with total drench resistance to all 40 different brands of product on the market made by the a lamb nuzzling below a ewe with wagging tail has found a teat and is feeding. Keep checking that all lambs (especially multiples) are full – they’ll have round lower bellies. four major pharmaceutical companies, so ignore all the advertising hype and their ‘specials’. Don’t drench any sheep before you have some definitive veterinary evidence using a Faecal Egg Count (FEC) proving an anthelmintic is needed, and then find out the right one to use.
Don’t drench lambs at docking as they will have immunity from their mothers’ colostrum - only start at weaning if they need it. Mature ewes should not need drenching at docking or any other time.
Ewes and growing lambs need plenty of feed and clean water as lambs start really competing with their mothers for grass after about 6-8 weeks of age.
• Lambs are valuable so be on the watch for thieves and stray dogs.