Flock Health Checklist
Growth, Weaning and Sale
This phase of the management cycle comprises two important areas. It’s vital that the lambs grow as efficiently as possible, but it’s also important that this is not at the expense of the ewe.
Discover some of the areas covered in the growth, weaning and sale section of the Flock Health Checklist below.
Monitoring Lamb Growth
Weighing lambs regularly throughout the grazing period is a very useful indicator for assessing growth, identifying poor performers and to get an early indication of detrimental parasite burdens.
A combination of weighing and /or faecal egg count (FEC) should ideally be performed at least monthly.
Daily Live Weight Gain (DLWG) is calculated by subtracting the birthweight from the current weight, then dividing this by days of age.
Assessing ewes and weighing lambs around 8 weeks of age gives an indication of the ewe’s milk supply, the health status of the group and forage supply. It also allows a weaning date to be decided.
Read further advice on weaning in the Flock Health Checklist.
Resistance is the heritable (and therefore genetic) ability of the worm to survive treatment with an anthelmintic.
This section provides detailed insight into how resistance is developed, levels of resistance and methods to reduce populations of resistant worms.
Overuse of the same class of anthelmintic over a sustained period is one of the main ways that resistance can build up on-farm1.
The quality and quantity of milk, grass, +/- supplementary feed, as well as its availability will play a major role in lamb weight gain.
Variables that will impact lamb nutrition include twins vs. singles, ewe udder condition and sufficient access to feed space.
Disease and Infections
Concurrent infections such as pneumonia or footrot will have a significant impact on growth rates.
Growing lambs are susceptible to clostridial and pasteurella disease.
Consider a pasteurella vaccine booster before the autumn risk period, especially if you’ve lost sheep at this time in previous years.
Further information and advice can be found in the Flock Health Checklist
1. www.scops.org.uk ‘What is anthelmintic resistance?’