Sheep scanningRSS feed

Posted: Monday 19 January, 2015

by Rosemary Champion at 12:36pm in Sheep 1 comment Comments closed

We had the scanner here last week to scan the ewes. We've used the same lassie for seven years and she's never been wrong - and I'm hoping she's right this year too.

Of the fifteen to the tup - eight ewes and seven gimmers - all are in lambs. One gimmer is carrying a single and the other six have twins; of the eight ewes, we've got four sets of twins and four sets of triplets. So 33 lambs scanned or 220%. Gulp.

We had one set of twins last year from Poppy; she's expecting twins this year but her twin sister is expecting triplets (she had twins last year). Poppy's triplets were all much the same size and she did a good job of raising them all herself. I'd be lucky to get away with that thsi year, so I'll be buying milk powder and extra bottles, just in case. I might manage to twin one on to the single - never done that before either.

Considering that we had a good summer and the ewes were in pretty good condition, it's a good number of lambs. We didn't do anything different to last year - we put a molassed mineral bucket in two weeks before Taylor went out, after spending two weeks in an adjacent paddock to the ewes, flirting through the fence. However, I have selected (now that I can) for prolific ewes - those who are twins, whose mothers are twins and have had twins in the past. We also vaccinate for toxoplasmosis and enzootic abortion now - we never thought we had a problem and it was simply insurance, but who knows.

Of course, a 220% scan is just the start; we now have to try and get 33 lambs born alive and kept alive until we sell them. This weekend, we'll be splitting off the ewe hoggs, the single bearing gimmer and our two retired ewes and putting them up to our temporary grazing; the twins and triplets will be split and I'll be starting to feed the triplets soon after that and the twins a week or so later. We'll also be fluking the ewes (we've done the hoggs already).

In a few weeks, we'll be vaccinating with Heptavac P Plus, so that the ewes pass on immunity to clostridial diseases to the lambs through the colostrum. The lambing box will be brought out, checked and topped up then it's wait and watch until about 20th March, when we'll be bringing them in.

It's a big thing to be responsible for these ewes and their unborn lambs in any year, but this year It's just a bit more of a job :-)



Pamela McLellan

Monday 26 January, 2015 at 1:00pm

We managed to get a rejected lamb adopted last year, would you believe, at 3 days old.

It was one of twins, Mum accepted one, rejected the other and started knocking it about, so we bottle fed it.

The another ewe had a stillborn lamb, we rubbed the afterbirth over the 3 day old lamb and after a bit of sniffing, she accepted it. The lamb grew to be big and strong - so lucky.

So, go for it and good luck.

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