The final preparations are being put in place ahead of lambing, which is due to start next week on Tullamore Farm.
Ewes are due to begin lambing from 10 March onwards, with the flock in that late pregnancy period where an odd few issues typically occur.
There have been three or four of these issues in the last week to 10 days. The first of these was a ewe carrying four lambs, which was experiencing a slight prolapse.
The ewe seemed to be doing OK, but then one morning was off her feed and exhibiting signs of twin lamb disease, for which she received treatment. Later that day, she was found dead. There has been no result returned from the lab yet, but it is strongly suspected that a ruptured uterus was the cause of death.
At the start of the week, a ewe hogget lambed well ahead of time and the lamb died after a number of hours. There is no infectious agent suspected and the likely cause was an injury. Another ewe carrying three lambs lambed on Thursday night ahead of time. Again, infectious agents are not thought to be the cause, but cases of abortion are submitted to the regional veterinary laboratory as part of the farm’s health plan, drawn and developed in conjunction with farm vet, Donal Lynch.
Apart from these few issues, manager Shaun Diver reports preparations are coming along OK, with ewes holding body condition well. Ewes carrying twin lambs are receiving concentrate supplementation of 0.7kg per head daily, with triplet-bearing ewes receiving almost 1kg per head at this stage of gestation. Single-bearing ewes are receiving about 0.4kg to 0.5kg concentrates, and with the litter size lower this year, it is hoped that there will be a greater opportunity to cross foster lambs.
Pens have also been cleaned of bedding this week, ahead of lambing and group pens, and areas where individual lambing pens are being set up have been dusted with lime.
Straw usage has been built-up in recent weeks and this focus will remain in the weeks ahead to maintain a clean lambing environment.
An electronic reader was also purchased to facilitate easier recording at birth.
Lambs will be weighed and tagged, with their identification linked to their ewe so that performance can be assessed on both the ewe and ram front. Shaun has also topped up his lambing inventory with any products required around lambing, as spare time is likely to be non-existent once ewes start lambing with calving also progressing.