Lambing time is stressful on farms, and can be made worse when dealing with problem ewes.

Many farmers will wait until later in the season – such as mating time – to go through the flock and pick out unproductive ewes. However now is a good time to identify them, and take action.

Many of the reasons ewes are culled are due to problems occurring at lambing time, such as prolapse; mastitis; lameness issues; poor milk yield; and more.

The problem is these ewes often slip through the cracks and are then let out to grass. Then later in the year, the problems they caused at lambing time can be forgotten. They often end up going through the system again, possibly causing more issues and an increased workload next spring.

So while it’s fresh in your head, and you know which ewes made life that bit harder this lambing period, it’s best to identify and permanently mark them.

Using a spray can isn’t an effective way of marking unproductive ewes as in time it will wear off, or be shorn later in the season.

Instead, tagging with a red tag will make it easy to identify the problem ewes, and help them to stand out within the flock. Or, by making note of the ewe(s) on a piece of paper/electronically and listing the reason for culling.

It’s not just at lambing time that we need to be proactive and keep an eye on ewes. Over the coming weeks up as far as weaning, and then on to the breeding period, a watchful eye is needed to identify any that may need to be earmarked for culling.