Optimise your lambing routine

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With rising feed costs this season and a challenging economic environment, profitability is more important than ever. Lamb mortality has a massive impact on the season’s performance.

As 10-25% of lamb deaths occur within the first 48 hours of life, attention after birth is vital and improving lambing routines can reduce mortality to 5%.

When lambing indoors, build-up of bacterial infection in pens is a major challenge for lambs and a source of disease. Starting with clean dry pens followed by regular removal of bedding followed by cleaning with the use of an effective disinfectant is an important routine to help reduce this threat.

Arranging pens so that each ewe has at least three-square meters of space is another straightforward way to help reduce lamb mortality. This provides the ewe with enough space to avoid smothering and encourages good mothering that assists lamb survival in the first few days.

 

 

The importance of colostrum cannot be understated and a lamb needs a sufficient amount of good quality colostrum soon after birth. Time is of the essence so it’s highly recommended to have a quality colostrum supplement readily available to ensure all lambs get a sufficient feed. A product such as Nettex Ultra Concentrate is convenient and easy to use. Formulated with full fat UK sourced colostrum, ewe’s milk and egg protein, it has a high colostral fat content and provides an extra energy boost just when the lamb needs it most.

One simple but crucial part of the lambing routine is naval dipping, especially if lambing indoors. Straight after birth the naval is potential route of infection which can be protected by fully immersing the navel in a 10% iodine solution. Ideally this should be done in the first 15 minutes of life and it’s also worth dipping the naval again two to three hours later just to make sure.

 

 

There are many elements to a successful lambing routine but good hygiene, ensuring adequate high-quality colostrum and navel dipping can have a significant impact on lamb mortality and consequently a positive effect on profitability.