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Teasing Ewe Lambs For Cross Fostering

6 September 2017

To maximise the number of ewes running with twins cross fostering is needed.  In prolific flocks where close to 100% of ewe lambs get in lamb, then up to 40% of them may be carrying twins, but they are best left to rear only one.  Time their lambing to maximise the chance of a ewe with a single lambing being available as a potential foster mum.  This is much cheaper than artificial rearing.

Check previous year’s records to see when most singles are born for your flock and target this date.  In the first two weeks of lambing you often get more triplets as they are more fecund sheep, get tupped first and have a slightly shorter gestation period.  It is good to lamb the ewe lambs after the first fortnight when more singles will be born in the main mob.

Using teasers on ewe lambs can concentrate the lambing.  Introduction of teaser rams will make non-cycling ewe lambs ovulate within about 4 days, they will not be mated as this will be a silent heat, but will return to ovulation 17 days later, thus we can expect mating to be concentrated at 3 weeks following introduction of the teaser.

Introduce them to the ewe lambs a week before the main ewe mob is tupped.  Keep them in for 17 days then 4 days later put out the entire rams which will thus be going out a fortnight after tups went out in the main ewe mob.

  • Keep the teasers and rams well away from the ewe lambs until needed
  • Keep the ewe hoggs well away from the ewes also
  • Use an easy lambing ram breed on the ewe lambs, one which produces vigorous lambs at birth
  • Plan abortion vaccination to be at least 4 weeks pre mating for replacements

John Vipond

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