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Older ewes and first time lambers

Ewes lambing for the first time

  • Ewes lambing for the first time are often still growing themselves and their udder will be developing for the first time.
  • Udder and teat skin is softer and more susceptible to chaffing and lesions, potentially predisposing to mastitis. Lambs take longer to feed from first time lambing ewes.
  • Teat lesions can be caused by lambs biting or over sucking the teat and by diseases such as orf or bacterial infections.
  • Young ewes are prone to teat lesions from their lambs, these in turn increase the risk of mastitis


  • Ensure these ewes have sufficient feed to maintain their body condition and develop the udder
  • Consider keeping them separate from older ewes to avoid bullying and minimise exposure to mastitis and udder infection from cross sucking lambs
  • If you have high levels of mastitis in young ewes consider letting them rear only one lamb to avoid damage to the udder and teats
    • If cross fostering or weaning early to avoid teat damage creep feeding the lambs from an early age is recommended to reduce the reliance on milk and ensure a good daily live weight gain