Your monthly guide to livestock and pasture care.
Ewes and growing lambs
need plenty of feed and clean water. Lambs start seriously competing with their mothers for grass from about 6-8 weeks old. 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.
hard about whether you take on more stock. If there is a drought, expect the price of hay, baleage, silage, lucerne and hard feeds to go up, and prices for stock to fall as everyone tightens their belts. Check out the seasonal forecasts put out by NIWA which will give you a good indication for the season ahead. They include predictions for soil moisture, weather patterns and the likelihood of drought. www.niwa.co.nz/climate/ seasonal-climate-outlook
Lambs should be growing
at 300g per day and you should be watching prices so you can time selling and get good money for them, if that is your goal. Lambs and ewes should be on good pasture. Look out for runny behinds – this may be a sign of rich feed, not worms, so take FECS before drenching if you have no other symptoms of a worm infestation (runny eyes, thin animal, dull coat, coughing).
Sheep (and fibre goats)
need to be kept cool and dry on the day of shearing, so having covered yards, with plenty of shade and cold water, is vital to stop stress which can and does lead to pneumonia. It is also more comfortable and safer for your shearer to have proper yards. Keep the area as dust-free as possible, also to decrease the risk of pneumonia. Someone else will need to be on site to assist the shearer, and have the sheep ready to be penned (or already penned) by the time the shearer arrives. Shearing in the early morning or late afternoon is preferable to the heat of the day, if possible, to keep animals cool.