Making the most of scanning day: What other jobs can be carried out?

With mid-season lambing flocks getting set to scan their ewes this month, a number of other jobs can be carried out on the same day – while all of the ewes are in the yard.

For those that still have ewes out on grass, scanning day presents itself as a very useful day to get other important tasks carried out – especially if there is an extra labour unit on hand to help out.

For those who have housed their ewes – which at this stage is the vast majority of farms – scanning will allow you to group ewes according to litter size and help you to feed ewes accordingly.

Looking at what other jobs can be done, the first task that can be carried out is dosing ewes for fluke. If it is a case that ewes are coming off pasture now – especially if the ground is wet, which is the case for many – there is a possibility that they have fluke.

Therefore, a dung sample should be taken – so as to identify the correct dose to treat the ewes for fluke with – a week before scanning.

The second task that can be carried out is walking the ewes through a footbath on their way to the scanning trailer. However, this should only be carried out when ewes are set to be housed for the winter and not let out to pasture again.

After this – when the ewes are in the crush – the flock should be body condition scored (BCS), in order to identify any undernourished animals. Furthermore, these ewes can be batched together and offered extra feed in order to build body condition.

Up next is scanning. Moreover, to improve the accuracy of scanning it is beneficial if the ewe is not fed a few hours prior to scanning. If ewes are out on pasture, it is best if they are brought in the night before scanning and housed.

The final task is to batch the ewes according to how many lambs they are carrying – while also taking into account their BCS.

Scanning

Ewes should be scanned between 80 and 90 days post ram turnout – to achieve accurate results.

Scanning at 80 days will ensure that the scanner can pick up all of the ewes that are in-lamb.

However, scanning ewes that are greater than 90 days in-lamb will make it more difficult for the scanner to identify how many lambs the ewe is carrying.

Also Read: Take advantage of the benefits scanning ewes offers

Furthermore, it is best practice to avoid scanning ewes that are less than 40 days in-lamb as this will result in pregnant ewes not being identified and possibly being culled.