Management of the new-born lamb in the first week is critical to minimising losses at lambing time. Starvation and exposure at this young age accounts for 60% of losses.
- Check lambs are sucking properly and getting adequate milk from the ewe.
- Ensure adequate feeding of the ewe to maximise milk production for the new-born lamb.
- Lactation peaks at 4 weeks and from this point it is more beneficial to prioritise grass and meal for the lambs as there will be a reduction in milk production by the ewe.
Ensure a post lambing dose for ewes is given to eliminate post-parturient worm egg output and infestation of pasture, thus reducing the level of exposure to lambs. As part of your dosing strategy against roundworms and nematodirus lambs should receive their first worm dose at 4-6 weeks of age depending on the product you use. Repeat doses should be given at 2-3 week intervals thereafter depending on weather, stocking density and lamb thrive. Beware of coccidiosis in lambs and remember that one ingested coccidia in a lamb results in the excretion of millions of oocysts infecting pasture. From now on both ewes and lambs will require the application of fly strike control products. As with all dosing with sheep and lambs please observe the withdrawal periods, especially when drawing lambs for slaughter.