Variable weather conditions and the fact that lambs may be grazing swards with a significant percentage of stemmy grass present is giving rise to a higher incidence of scald in lambs.

Lambs cannot cope with scald-related pain well and its incidence will disrupt lambs from normal suckling and grazing behaviour.

If left untreated, it can significantly impact on performance spreading quickly through a flock and also presenting a risk of serious cases progressing to footrot.

Foot bathing

Foot bathing will generally be sufficient to treat and prevent scald, with copper sulphate, zinc sulphate and formalin the most commonly used products.

For treatment, the recommendation is generally 10% concentration for copper and zinc sulphate and 3% to 5% for formalin, reducing to half rate where running lambs through the footbath regularly for prevention.

Take care with formalin not to leave lambs in the solution too long and also pay heed to operator safety and make sure foot bathing is carried out in a well-ventilated area.

For treatment with copper and zinc sulphate, the general recommendation is to leave affected lambs stand in solution for 30 to 60 seconds. This can be extended for serious cases.


Foot bath preparation and solution consistency is also important. For best results, lambs should be walked through a bath of water if required or enter the foot bath solution free of dirt, as contamination will reduce the effectiveness of copper sulphate and formalin.

Post-treatment management is also important and, ideally, lambs should have an opportunity to stand on a concrete or hardcore area, providing more time for contact with the solution before being rubbed off by grass or coming in contact with dirt, which will reduce its effectiveness.

A hydrometer can be used successfully to monitor the concentration of the solution.

There are also other products on the market, while individual cases can be controlled on a shorter-term basis with aerosol sprays.

Where a significant issue is present, lambs may need to be retreated regularly until you get on top of the problem.