Pregnancy Scanning of Ewes – should be carried out 70-100 days from the tup being introduced to the ewes. Split the flock into management groups following scanning result and condition score to best target nutrition.
Condition Score – group thin single ewes, with twins and thin twin bearing ewes with triplets for preferential treatment. This condition can be re-assessed when the ewes are next handled for clostridial vaccination boosters. Closely monitor the condition of ewes on ad lib brassica diets, remove fat ewes and restrict their diet intake. Thin ewes should also be removed and inspected for teeth, lameness, fluke/worm, etc. and allow for a high intake feed. Similarly monitor the condition of housed ewes, weigh bales to see how much ewes are actually eating per day and ensure they are not getting too fat in house.
Raddle Marks – use your raddle marks as a management tool as you approach lambing, batch ewes according to the raddle mark to allow efficiencies of feeding pre lambing. Using these marks can also mean only housing the ewes who are imminent to lambing, reducing disease build up.
Winter Forage – If you have not as yet analysed your winter forage stocks, do it now! A good silage fed with the correct ration can reduce your pre lambing feeding costs significantly. Ensure the ewes have adequate access to the silage to ensure high intakes and ensure bales do not have moulds in them. Remove any waste again to ensure high intakes of forage.
Lambing Facilities – Start to dig out your lambing tools and facilities and while in a quieter period start to disinfect lambing pens, troughs and supplies.
Water Troughs – Ensure water troughs in house are in good working order and no leaks have appeared following the cold snap. This will greatly reduce bedding and prevent a moist environment in house.
Feed – start to price pre lambing feed, ensuring high quality ingredients and a good level of protein and energy in the feed.
Kirsten Williams, SAC Consulting Sheep Specialist
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