Older ewes and first time lambing ewes
Older ewes (over 4 years old)
- Older ewes are more likely to develop acute and chronic mastitis
- Older ewes tend to produce less milk because of a build up of infection in the udder
- A planned programme to cull ewes after 5 lactations minimises extra careneeded for older ewes
- If you wish to keep older ewes:
- provide extra feed through pregnancy and lactation to improve / maintain body condition and milk supply
- supplement their lambs with creep to reduce demand on the udder from the lambs and avoid physical damage
- wean lambs at 8 - 10 weeks
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