‘Dosing for fluke, if required, and identifying lame ewes should be a priority now’

Dosing for fluke, if required, and identifying lame ewes now should be a priority for in-lamb ewes, so that they can be treated well before their due date, according to Teagasc advisor Brian Daly.

Earlier this evening, Teagasc held a sheep webinar that was focused on ewe nutrition pre-lambing and flock health pre-lambing.

The two speakers on the night were advisors Brian Daly and Michael Conroy from the Teagasc Roscommon/Longford office.

Topics covered by each speaker:

  • Brian Daly: Flock health pre-lambing and lambing preparation guidelines;
  • Michael Conroy: Pre-lambing nutrition.

Opportunities at scanning time

First up was Brian Daly and his presentation began about the opportunities farmers should take advantage of at scanning time.

Many mid-season lambing flocks will be preparing to scan their ewes this month or may have done so already.

Brian said that scanning is not just an opportunity to predict the number of lamb births that you are expecting but it’s also a great time to carry out some other important jobs. Listed (below) are four possible jobs that Brian said can be carried out at this time.

These include:

  • Body condition scoring (BCS) the flock;
  • Dosing ewes for fluke if required;
  • Running ewes through a footbath;
  • Grouping single, twin and triplet-bearing ewes together.

BCS of the flock: Brian said that scanning time is a great opportunity to assess the BCS of the flock. He said particular attention should be paid to the in-lamb hoggets and ewe lambs and making sure that they are in good order.

For a lowland flock, the ideal BCS come lambing time of ewes is 3.0.

Dosing for liver fluke: Brian noted that ewes should be dosed for liver fluke if required.

At this time of the year, products which target immature and mature adult fluke should be administered if needed.

“Dosing them at this stage is very important as it gives the liver a chance to heal and help to reduce ill thrift and condition loss in the ewes in good time before lambing.”

Footbathing: Brian highlighted that scanning time offers farmers a chance to run their ewes through a footbath and to identify and lame sheep.

Scanning time offers you a chance to identify any lame ewes. This then allows you to separate these ewes from the rest of the flock and treat them individually.

“That is very important pre-housing because if you don’t separate those ewes and treat them it gives a huge potential for footrot to spread within the flock – as it thrives in the conditions in a shed, especially when ewes are in close contact.”

Identifying single, twin and triplet-bearing ewes: The great benefit of scanning ewes is being able to identify how many lambs a ewe is carrying and to be able to split them up into three groups.

By identifying how many lambs a ewe is carrying it will enable you to put in place a feeding plan for them.

“This is important to get right, as problems will arise otherwise if ewes aren’t fed adequately. It’s important to remember that most of the lamb’s growth takes place in the final few weeks of pregnancy.”