More kilos at the gate: Animal health for heavier lambs

Get them here, keep them alive, grow them well. It's what we all want from our stock, but how can we support this to happen?

Now that we are at this stage of the season, let's focus on keeping them alive, and growing them well.

We see more lamb deaths from clostridial diseases than from anything else during the weaning and growth season. 

Vaccinations are very effective at preventing these deaths and there are many options that provide a broader range of protection if you feel the 5in1 is not sufficient. 

Timing is important and can be manipulated according to your risks. If you see any CLA/Cheesy Gland on your kill sheets, let us know, as one particular vaccine will help with this also.

Now, let's grow them well.

Ewe milk will always trump anything that we can grow from the ground to feed our lambs. High quality, leafy pasture with lots of clover will keep ewe milk production going at its best. However, if the ewes have not milked well in early lactation, you will not ‘pull them up’ and increase milk production late in the season. 

In this situation, an early weaning may favour lamb growth and the best feed may be better going to lambs, rather than ewes.

Consider available Vitamin B12/Cobalt for optimum lamb growth. It is an essential nutrient to help convert food into energy, which is required for growth. Cobalt is in its highest concentrations in clover, so we can have varying available cobalt in pastures depending on the season and clover content.

A long-acting B12 injection can guarantee up to 180 deficiency-free days. The short-acting injections are also great, and with repeated doses you can achieve the same result.

Controlling parasites

We can’t talk about lamb growth without discussing parasites.

For external parasites, fly prevention is much better than cure and there are lots of things to consider for how to best manage them.

If you had any issues last year, then please make contact with us so we can discuss preventative measures with you - they are not all to do with applying chemicals.

Internal parasites also require management and, again, it's not all about using chemicals.

Lambs are great multipliers of internal parasites, but we can manipulate/reduce the exposure of larvae to lambs, resulting in much better lamb growth. 

When you are drenching it is ESSENTIAL that you know the product is working. Drench resistance is causing big problems locally, and you won’t see it until it's really bad!

drench check is quick and easy - you only need to provide 10 faecal samples, 10 days after your first drench - and this quick check can set your season up for success.

To recap, here are the main factors to check off:

Keep them alive

  • Clostridial protection

Grow them well

  • Lots of milk and clover
  • Vitamin B12/Cobalt
  • Fly management
  • Internal parasite management
  • Drench check

There are lots more factors that can be addressed if these things are taken care of and you are still unhappy with your lamb growth. 

We love looking into these issues with you, so please contact us if you want to discuss lamb growth this season. It’s not easy getting all your ‘ducks in a row’.

- Donna Hamilton


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