How to get ewes ready for lambing?

ewe management

Lots of things need to be happening at this time of year to get our ewes ready for lambing.

Many of these things are, at this stage, just requiring some thought and planning. So here is a list of things to ponder while you are shifting breaks, or keeping warm in the tractor feeding out:

  1. Scanning – are you booked in? Have you factored in a family trip away during the school holidays? Or if you don’t have school kids, planning your trip DURING the school term!
  2. Scanning provides a brilliant opportunity to Condition Score your ewes. Finding and drafting out any bony ewes at this time will be very beneficial. Just get the person pushing onto the scanner to have a quick feel and mark any lights. It might not be possible to get your hand on every ewe, but most/some is much better than none!
  3. Iodine injections need to be given at least 4 weeks before lambing, so around scanning can work well for some farmers. If you have marginal iodine levels and are feeding a lot (more than 5-6 weeks) of brassicas this year, make sure you consider iodine – you don’t want lambs being born not able to produce heat and regulate their temperature properly!
  4. Feed requirements for winter – how long are your crop paddocks going, or needing, to last? What supplements are needed? If you need help working this out let us know.
  5. Do you know the selenium status of your flock going into this high demand season? 5 blood samples is all it takes. Identifying and correcting a deficiency, or marginal deficiency, before the crunch-time will prevent significant issues!
  6. What paddocks are you wanting to have for your twin and triplet ewes at lambing? If you can graze these early in the winter and give them a good spell before set stocking you will have a better chance of having the feed required for these high demand mums.

    We have seen some young ewes and replacements with high worm counts lately. If you are wondering about your stock at this time of year, a Faecal Egg Count (FEC) can give some really useful information and help make sound decisions.

    Well done to everyone who has been putting some thought into these things already. If you want to run your ideas past us please give your KeyVet a call. Doing your homework well at this time of year and knowing what your stock needs well ahead of time will pay off. Having fully supported stock with sufficient feed available to them in the last month before lambing and through lactation means that they will be able to manage some stress from the environment, parasites and the birth process.

    - Donna Hamilton


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