Optimise your lambing routine to reduce mortality

On average, 10-25% of total lamb deaths occur within the first 48 hours after birth. However, this could be reduced to 5% by improving lambing routines.

For indoor lambing flocks, having clean, dry lambing pens is crucial to reduce the spread of bacterial infection.

Ideally, cleaning pens out after each ewe would be the most-effective way to reduce the build-up of bacteria in the environment; but this is not always practical.

Using a highly-absorbent bed conditioner, that also contains a disinfectant, is a manageable way to reduce the likelihood of disease spreading from animal-to-animal.

Ensuring ewes have enough room in the pen is another simple method to reduce the risk of deaths caused by smothering.

It is recommended that individual lambing pens are at least 3m² to ensure the ewe has enough space. This will also help reduce mismothering – another major cause of lamb deaths.

Ensuring lambs have rapid access to a quality source of colostrum, whether from the ewe or from an artificial source, is another vital consideration.

It is highly recommend to have a quality, artificial colostrum on-hand – that has a high colostral fat content, contains concentrated dried colostrum, ewe’s milk and egg proteins – such as Nettex Ultra concentrate, to give lambs an extra energy boost when needed.

Lastly, the importance of navel dipping as part of the lambing routine cannot be underestimated. Fully immersing the navel in a 10% iodine solution, within the first 15 minutes of life, will help avoid the navel being a potential source of infection.

This is particularly important for lambs born indoors. For an extra line of defence, you can dip the navel again two-to-three hours later.

Although there are several factors to consider during lambing, focusing on these three management factors – hygiene, colostrum management and navel dipping – will help maximise lamb survival, health, and ultimately the bottom line.

Lambing essentials

Nettex, a division of Rumenco, has been developing innovative, high-technology solutions for nutrition and animal husbandry for over 35 years. It manufactures products for a range of markets including the ruminant, equine and poultry sectors.

Its lambing essentials group of products is the perfect showcase of the Nettex range. The range includes: pre-lambing nutrition solutions, for multiple-carrying ewes; the day-to-day essentials for marking ewes and lambs and dipping navels; a vital, high-quality colostrum replacer; and an essential newborn lamb pick-me up for testing conditions and extra support for lambs born indoors.

When time is short and lambs are most vulnerable make sure Nettex is your go to lambing partner this spring. Click here for more information