- Plan Ahead: Stock up on Equipment and Supplies Preparing for lambing season requires foresight. Make sure to order all essential materials well in advance, such as disinfectants for lambing pens, iodine for navels, castration rings, feeding tubes, marker sprays, sterilization equipment, milk replacer, colostrum replacer, and any other lambing essentials. Having these items on hand will save you from last-minute rushes during the hectic season.
- Prioritize Ewe Nutrition during Pregnancy: During the last six weeks of pregnancy, ewes experience about 70% of fetal growth. Ensuring that your ewes are in optimal condition during this critical period is vital for successful lambing. Poor nutrition can lead to low birth weights, inferior quality ewe colostrum, and reduced lamb survival rates. Group and feed ewes based on scanning results and their condition score. Balancing their mineral intake is equally important.
- Prepare the Lambing Housing: For indoor lambing, it is crucial to prepare the sheds properly. Thoroughly clean and disinfect the area at least two weeks before the ewes are brought inside. Ample clean, dry bedding should be provided to minimize the risk of spreading infections such as lameness, watery mouth, joint ill, and coccidiosis. Adequate lighting is essential for easy stock monitoring without causing unnecessary stress to the animals. Ensure that there is enough space for each ewe to prevent overcrowding, allowing 1.2m2 to 1.4m2 of floor space and 45cm of trough space per typical 70kg ewe.
- Set Targets to Reduce Lamb Losses: Keeping good records is crucial for benchmarking performance and identifying potential problem areas. Develop a recording system, even a simple one, to track important data during lambing. Aim to keep lamb losses below 15%, with top-performing flocks achieving closer to 10% losses. Starting a recording system during lambing season is an excellent way to get into the habit of tracking crucial information.
- Properly Feed Surplus Lambs: If you have surplus lambs that need to be reared apart from their ewe, ensure they receive enough nutrition. For optimal growth and profitability, each surplus lamb should receive nine to eleven liters of correctly mixed Mole Valley Farmers’ Lamlac from birth until weaning. Proper feeding will help these lambs grow effectively and reach their full potential.
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