CLIVE’S TIP: AL­WAYS CHECK THAT A LAMB HAS FED

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature -

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.

at­tacks.

• Lambs are valu­able so be on the watch for thieves and stray dogs.

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