Your monthly guide to live­stock and pas­ture care.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Farm­ing -

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.

Think very

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.­mate/ 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.

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