Someone queried the loss of management keels and sprays when winter shearing. Often sheep are batched pre winter shearing according to their scanning results and raddle marks. After shearing, these sheep will usually get re-marked with their scanning result and possibly raddle mark or housed in pens according to their raddle mark and time of lambing. This does entail more labour, but the end result of the following pros should outweigh this.
- The space requirement per ewe can be reduced by 25% in late pregnancy when shorn, reducing housing space.
- Lambs can find the teat easier from shorn mothers and therefore suck quicker resulting in good early intakes of colostrum.
- The shorn ewe is clean underneath and at the back end reducing bacteria contamination when the lamb is searching for the teat.
- Easy to see which shorn ewes are bagging up and potential udder problems before lambing.
- Shorn ewes eat more forage (10-15%) resulting in lambs being 0.4 – 0.6kg heavier at birth.
Kirsten Williams, SAC Consulting Sheep Specialist
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