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Author Topic: Losing Ryeland lambs  (Read 7823 times)


  • Joined Jul 2012
Losing Ryeland lambs
« on: March 31, 2013, 07:58:47 pm »
Any ideas much appreciated.....
Had 14 live lambs from 7 ewes, 5 shearlings and two old girls so very pleased as all had doubles.
Three weeks later I'm left with 7 ewes and 7 lambs. The lambs are very slow and lack any sense of energy, compared to the mule lambs they are like slugs! One ewe had lost all milk, stopped eating and scouring so is in antibiotics and drenched, to give here a chance I have her 2 on the bottle. Another had a good sized double, had milk they had both sucked and been given kick start as an extra boost but 48 hours in they both died. No watery mouth or other signs or infection, full tummies but both dead. Lost another yesterday was in a small paddock seemed fine but they dead in the morning. One had a deformed leg/foot and also died today, others died in the pens and barns over the past 2 weeks.
My only other experience is 5 years lambing the commercial girls who by comparison have been fine. On 200 out of 500 and whilst there have been some issues they are doing pretty well considering the year they have had.

My remaining 7 that are still alive are very slow and lack any real get up , they are on creep, the mums have maize silage, hay, meal and have plenty of milk, they are wormed and on Hep p.
Any ideas???
Quite disappointed with them at the moment.
Anyone have any experience of Ryelands and had similar issues??
I think I'll get the vet out tomorrow if get any more issues.


smiley bucket

  • Joined Mar 2011
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 08:09:38 pm »
Poor things, I'd definitely have the vet if you don't have any sheepy neighbours who can help you.  Let us know what they diagnose, Ryelands are such lovely sheep, they are on my shortlist so hope it's not a problem specific to the breed.
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  • Joined Jul 2008
  • Ceredigion
  • Dust yourself off when life throws you down.
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 08:28:32 pm »
Have you dosed the lambs with Vecoxan as coccidossis will kill?

I breed Ryelands and have never experienced your problems.

We only feed our ewes prior to lambing and after, ewe nuts as they have the right balance of what they need if fed at the rights quantities.

Have you dosed for fluke as that is also very rife this year?
Penybont Ryelands. Ystwyth Coloured Ryelands.  2 alpacas, 2 angora goats, 2 anglo nubian kids, 3golden retrievers a collie and a red fox labrador retriever, geese, ducks & chickens.

Tala Orchard

  • Joined Nov 2012
  • North Cornwall
    • Tala Orchard
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2013, 08:57:20 pm »
To be honest if you have had lambs die over the last two weeks along with shearlings, and you say one had a deformed foot was this one of this years lambs?

I would have had a VET out within a day or so of more than one dying for no apparent reason, for if it is a virus or an infection you may have past the point of incubation and to late for veterinary medicine.

I do hope that you are lucky with the rest and you can save some of your lambs.
Pigs are human tooo


  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2013, 09:17:56 pm »
Its kind of weird though - if you have 200 commercials out of 500 who have lambed fine and are raising lambs fine to have these problems just with the Ryelands...

Maybe you bought a poor strain?

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2013, 09:30:58 pm »
or came with some condition/virus etc??
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.


  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2013, 10:02:26 pm »
Post mortem?
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  • Joined Jun 2008
    • golocal food
    • Facebook
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2013, 10:37:17 pm »
sounds like third semester schmallenberg infection, brain problems and lack of thrift, blood test would give an indication if the virus is present


  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2013, 06:38:39 am »
Thank you all, I'll get in contact with the vet. It is very strange that its only the Ryelands. No sign of fluke, no bottle jaw or poor condition been kept on dry ground away from main flock. It's very weird and pretty upsetting as I so wanted them to do well so that they have a place on a commercial arable/ sheep farm and have very quickly got attached to them.

Fingers crossed next year will be better for them.


  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2013, 07:38:53 am »
Are you saying that the ryelands were kept seperate from the main flock? I don't know if its relevant but on the farming forums they are seeing calves where for no apparent reaon they are failing to thrive thought to be related to schamllenberg ( as they have also seen schmallenberg on the farms)
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  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2013, 10:27:51 am »
You do need to get a PM done the minute the next one dies, I would have done that after the second one died anyway.
Also who is the sire (is he yours) and is he (closely) related to the ewes? Are the ewes related (as in have same sire and/or are sisters/half sisters)? Any pedigrees?
Have the ewes been vaccinated/boostered with Heptavac P+?
When did you buy them - were they already in lamb? and if yes, where did they come from. I don't know where in the country you are, but if down south Schmallenberg could well be implicated.


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Ludlow,Shropshire
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2013, 10:54:06 am »
This week I heard schamllenberg has reached Scotland.


Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2013, 11:04:23 am »
My Southdowns and Badger Face are a good half condition score lower than usual for lambing this year and are lambing early (1 week early means they've lost 17% of their serious growing time, after all), but lambs have been vigorous and are all, presently, surviving, even the twins born 6 days early to a first timer than were just skin and bone with fuzz where a fleece should be.  Have just spoken to my neighbour across the valley and his ewes' milk is drying up after 3 or 4 days, lots of problems like mastitis.  Lambs lack vigour and he's wondering about SBV - no malformed lambs yet but has heard there may be residual effects on the ewes even so.  We put our breeding stock in the "midgiest" field in July and August in the hope they'd get it then if it was around but he's 150 ft higher than us and has less shelter.

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2013, 11:18:36 am »
As lots of us breed ryelands successfully then you can be assured that its not "a ryeland thing" though whatever it is, its clealy limited to the Ryelands in your flock. I hope that the remaining 7 continue to thrive and doubling your flock in such a bad year is not too bad despite your losses. I do hope that you get to the bottom of it and that you have more luck next year.


  • Joined Jul 2010
  • Shrewsbury
    • Fairfax Ryeland Flock
    • Facebook
Re: Losing Ryeland lambs
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2013, 11:44:03 am »
Oh that must be so heart breaking and frustrating. Hopefully the remaining 7 will start to thrive as the weather improves. As Buffy has said quite a lot of people on here breed Ryelands, myself included, and honestly I don't think this is a Ryeland issue. I have found them to be remarkably resilient. A couple of our lambs have been a little weak this year and slow to suckle but have come through ok so far. We have not had a great season for twins with quite a few having good sized singles instead. Although I obviously adore my first timers, I am a fan of also having older ewes too there is a reason they have got to that age and have such good antibodies to pass on.  Will keep my fingers crossed for your guys  :fc:


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