Country Smallholding

Lamb­ing is loom­ing

Your spring lamb­ing sheep will soon need scan­ning for preg­nancy

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Once Christ­mas is over and done with, it won’t be long be­fore spring lamb­ing sheep flocks need to be preg­nancy scanned. If you haven’t done this be­fore, then I’d strongly rec­om­mend it. We usu­ally speak to the con­trac­tor some­time be­tween Christ­mas and new year, and plan a visit for around Jan­uary 10. It’s not ex­pen­sive – less than 50p / ewe – al­though un­der­stand­ably there may be a ‘min­i­mum call­out fee’ for very small flocks. Even so, I wouldn’t ex­pect this to ex­ceed £ 25. If pos­si­ble our con­trac­tor ar­ranges a whole day in this area to do all the small­hold­ers’ flocks, so you might be able to or­gan­ise some­thing sim­i­lar in your lo­cal­ity, by li­ais­ing with other small flock own­ers.

Know­ing how many lambs each of your ewes is car­ry­ing en­ables you to feed and man­age them ac­cord­ing to their in­di­vid­ual re­quire­ments. You won’t need to waste money giv­ing ex­pen­sive con­cen­trates to bar­ren sheep, and the sav­ings made by more ac­cu­rate feed­ing may be suf­fi­cient to cover the cost of the scan­ning.

The health of the flock at lamb­ing time will be vastly im­proved due to you hav­ing been able to give ap­pro­pri­ate nu­tri­tion to sin­gle, twin or triplet bear­ing ewes dur­ing late ges­ta­tion. There’ll also be fewer dif­fi­cult births (as there shouldn’t be any over­size sin­gles) and fewer non­vi­able lambs (as there shouldn’t be any un­der­sized twins or triplets).

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