Lambing Reminders

Lambing reminders

Housing should have been thoroughly cleaned and have good ventilation and be draught-free. Have clean lambing equipment to hand. A lamb warmer box and infra-red lamps are essential.

Colostrum is king but it needs to be fed within the first 6 hours! It gives the lamb immunity, highly digestible nutrients and gets things moving in the gut. Ensure 50 ml/kg body weight at birth and then every 4-6 hours for the first 24 hours. Try to give one extra feed for lambs outside in bad weather.

Allowing the lambs to suckle early is a critical part of the bonding process, but if the ewe appears short of early milk then use colostrum from other ewes. A (pre-warmed) stomach tube is an effective way of getting the colostrum into a (strong and conscious) lamb.

Observation of early suckling is a key part of the shepherd’s role. Early standing and early suckling can be improved by feeding the ewe an elevated level of vitamin E and selenium during late gestation .

If the ewe has an inadequate milk supply then supplementation with a high quality milk replacer will be needed. Select the lambs for artificial rearing e.g. >2 lambs/litter, weaker, less aggressive or mis-mothered lambs. Lambs should be grouped according to body weight and age starting with 5 lambs/teat but increasing to 10-20 lambs per teat later.

Only feed a top quality lamb milk replacer such as Downland Lamb Force

Check the Lamb Force mixing rates on the bag before hand. Weighing the powder is better than cups or scoops. Add 200 g of powder to 800 ml of water to make 1 kg of mixed milk.

Train the lambs to teat-feed as soon as possible after colostrum. Careful observation during this early period of teat-feeding is essential.

Clean all milk-feeding equipment daily: wash in warm water and detergent but remember to rinse afterwards. Ideally allow to dry before re-use.

All roughage, concentrates and water should be in suitable containers and kept clean.

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