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Author Topic: How to improve lambing ??  (Read 2023 times)

crobertson

  • Joined Sep 2015
How to improve lambing ??
« on: April 03, 2017, 09:50:53 pm »
Hi guys

Last week we lambed our first 6 texel shearlings and out of the 6 had to assist 5! I used a derbyshire gritstone ram and all lambs were narrow in the shoulders, vigorous etc but just presented wrong with one or two legs back. Is there anything that contributes to this ? Maybe because its their first time lambing ? I'm happy with the size of the lambs as I wanted to avoid a texel type ram for obvious problems but this seems a high percentage to assist ! All lambs are perfect, very vigorous growing fantastic.

Any advice would be appreciated

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2017, 10:02:10 pm »
Make sure all your girls have all the minerals they need throughout pregnancy.  Low selenium can cause malpresentations, I think, for instance. 

Personally, I wouldn't use that tup again, either.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

crobertson

  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2017, 10:14:48 pm »
Thanks for that, they have all been well fed throughout pregnancy, have mineral buckets and lifeline buckets and the lambs themselves have come out amazingly fit and healthy just with a leg or two back at lambing meaning we had to help.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2017, 10:18:07 pm »
I hope it's not the ewes' breeding :fc:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

crobertson

  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 10:31:12 pm »
Possibly, we are hoping to go into purebred gritstones this year so I guess next lambing we shall see !

sadlerlou

  • Joined Mar 2016
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2017, 08:25:05 am »
I'm still learning in terms of lambing as this was only my third year doing it but wanted to share my thoughts with mine so far! First year lambed 5 ewes and had to help 4 out of the five, second year had to help one out of the 5 and this year only one. For me i think for me it was them gaining experience but mostly me learning to wait and not jump in too quickly.

The first year i had a breach, tangled triplets and false ring womb to deal with, i was undecided about breeding from them again after that first year but so glad i did and the two that ive had to help with since have only been minor things (touch wood!)





farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2017, 09:08:41 am »
We have easycare for this reason - low input no problems.  Easycare is Wiltshire horn x welsh Nelson.  No shearing.  They do need controlling and electric fence training.  We like these because they 1. no shearing costs 2. little intervention 3. hardy 4. medium sheep so not too big to deal with.


Im not expert in sheep and the breeding and crossing behind closed doors is not good.  Even with Easycare someone is adding Texel to them which in my eyes is totally wrong.  Buying top notch ewes/lambs in like playing roulette you just dont know what you are bringing into the flock with poor genetics.


I have no idea what a Gritstone is - again unless you know the breeding genetics on this one you dont know what is happening with the crossing.  I would have gone for a run of the mill breed like a lleyn/welsh (nice small lambs) first time.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2017, 10:50:15 am »
The Texel is fast losing ground as a terminal sire around here due to lambing problems with the ewe's pelvis and the lamb's short neck.  We use a Southdown ram on our Badger Face every other year, to give us a commercial type store lamb to sell at market, and never have any lambing problems.  This is using a terminal sire breed on a mountain breed.  I wonder if the long-legged Gritstone side of things on a stocky lowland breed led to problems - not enough room for the legs to sort themselves out in the right order? 

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2017, 12:50:57 pm »
I have no idea what a Gritstone is

Gritstone are a very old native breed from Derbyshire. A friend of mine used to keep them - very sturdy, stocky looking sheep  :thumbsup:.

"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2017, 01:11:43 pm »
From your other posts and pictures im going to say you overfed them , this gave less room for the lambs in the womb to move around  plus internal fat in the mother causing less room , especially in  first time lambing .     The pictures of your first lambs show nice lambs , not to big heads or thick legs but large for gimmer twins , good size even for ewes .  A nice weight for gim twin lambs circa 4kg .   You'll  get better with experience   so far ive been lambing 4days  25 ish lambed and not only have I not touched one ive not seen one born yet  , various breeds including texel x ewes to texel rams .

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2017, 01:21:43 pm »
So, @shep53, what condition score do you aim for at tupping and at the various points of pregnancy then?

We found last year that our ewes lost condition rapidly during their final trimester, to the point where I was concerned about twin lamb disease etc. This year, they've kept condition really well (warmer weather and better grass I think), to the point at which I'm worried the ones carrying singles may be too fat, despite only having had minimal feed.

So, one of my aims for next year is to have a much more organised / scientific approach to feeding and condition scores throughout pregnancy. Can you give some pointers as to how to go about that?  :thumbsup:
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

crobertson

  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2017, 02:02:12 pm »
Ooooo yes that would be really interested as with them not being scanned I wanted to avoid possible twin lamb disease but a tip next year might be to cut down the feed although they weren't fed that much or that overweight in my opinion (approx condition score 3 with some being approx 2.5).
I do love the derbyshire gritstones, I chose the ram as they are an old breed, local to us and thought what better can there be for our type of land! But rather than the overfeeding I think Marches Farmer is right, the lambs are leggy which on a lowland texel ewe they might have not have had enough room to sort their legs out. Coincidentally the ewe with a single, who obviously had all of the room to himself, was presented correctly.

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2017, 03:34:23 pm »
Over feeding or under feeding is hard to avoid when you lack experience and when you have flocks too small to easily devide up or worth getting a scanner to. I had two singles, two twins, one set triplets this year. One of the singles was earlish and bang on weight, the other latish and a first timer. My learning for next year is to try to give the first timers a bit less. But the main problem was she was in with the mothers for an entire week after they had all produced so difficult to avoid over feeding her.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2017, 06:55:24 pm »
crobertson your ewes were at the perfect cs but you must remember that in the last 6 wks it is a  fine line trying to not let the ewe loose to much condition and  growing the lamb , even 100-200 gms per day extra can increase lamb birthweight .              You cannot be precise as all breeds are slightly different   , my texel x's are always 1/2 a cs  ahead of the highlander x's    .    Last year my silage was very wet and so the sheep had trouble consuming enough so the  twins had  800 gms  of an 18% nut + lifeline . this year the ewes were in better condition and the silage is much dryer so 300gms + lifeline .   IF ewes are loosing condition in jan or feb I  will start them on nuts to try and put condition on or at least hold them , this has no effect on the lamb at this early stage .   IT is always difficult for a smallholder with a few sheep to feed them separately

crobertson

  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: How to improve lambing ??
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2017, 08:00:54 pm »
Thanks for that, very useful guide !

This year ours had hay from January and a lifeline bucket in the last 4 weeks (lid was put on at night) with 18% nuts in the morning and evening. The jug I used holds approx 1kg so between 6 that is 166g each serving so approximately 350g per day. The ewes looking very healthy throughout and as they are friendly it was easy to condtion score every couple of days. I am thrilled with the lambs, all good, even sizes, no tiny lambs, no massive lambs, extremely vigorous, we've not had to do anything no fatalities, no top up feeding, no weak lambs, nothing ! My only comment would be they presented with legs back when lambing - the more I think about it this may well be the legginess of the gritstone on a lowland ewe.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 08:13:34 pm by crobertson »

 

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