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Australia

A Few Tips To Ensure Successful Lambing

  1. Scanning ewes 45 days post removal of the rams enables ewes to be separated into singles, twins and triplets bearing ewes. Separating the ewes along these lines then allows them to be fed according to their needs and for preference to be given to the high fecundity ewes when selecting shelter and feed. Ensuring that triplets are lambed down in flocks no more than 30, twins no more than 100 for Merinos and 150 for crossbreds, and singles 250 for Merinos and 300 for crossbreds will also improve lambing percentages as lambs are less likely to die due to mismothering.
     
  2. Triplet and twin mothers should be condition score (CS) 3.5 to 4 at lambing, where as singles should be CS 3. The aim is to end up with lamb weights at birth between 4.5-5.5kg. This is the ideal weight for lamb survival. Lighter lambs will more likely die from mismothering and exposure. Lambs larger than 5.5kg are more likely to have difficulties being born and this may lead to brain injuries and death of the lamb, or in the worst case scenario of the lamb and ewe.
     
  3. As well as ensuring that good nutrition is maintained throughout pregnancy but especially in the last trimester it is important to ensure that ewes going into lambing are vaccinated against preventable diseases, topped up with trace minerals, and treated for parasites.
     
  4. Trace minerals are in high demand by the foetus and the ewe transfers 30% of her own trace minerals to the foetus in late pregnancy. Ensuring that trace minerals are in adequate supply not only protects the new lamb and helps to prevent deficiencies that may otherwise be experienced, but it also helps the ewe to produce better colostrum, improve her immunity for the risky time of lambing and helps in her recovery post lambing.
     
  5. Vaccines - there are a large range of vaccines to be given pre lambing to ensure that the ewe is protected throughout the lambing process. This is especially a time when they are susceptible to clostridial diseases due to the physical trauma associated with birth and the consequent bruising. It also allows the maximum quantity of antibodies to be transferred to the colostrum and provide the lamb with passive immunity until they can respond to a vaccine themselves.
     
  6. Parasites: Managing parasites at this critical time is one of the most important issues facing producers. Lambing is the time when the ewe is most susceptible to parasites and it is also the time when pastures become most heavily contaminated setting up the farm for a year-long problem. This inevitably leads to lower production and higher losses from lambs that pick up these burdens. The following pages present and discuss the best practice options available to help prevent this potential loss.
     
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