Just as ewes must be prepared for the mating season to ensure maximum conception, ewes must also be prepared for the lambing season to ensure that lambs get the best possible start in life!
The following factors should be kept in mind:
Conditioning of ewes for autumn lambing season in summer rainfall areas is usually not such a major challenge, but still critical:
Trace minerals and vitamins
The ewes' need for trace minerals and vitamins increases drastically in late pregnancy. Although most commercial licks do contain these elements, the amount consumed can often not meet the need and a so-called trace mineral gap can arise. The trace mineral status of the unborn lamb is totally dependent on supply from the ewe. Thus, ewes can benefit from an “OP TOP” trace mineral and vitamin supplement in late pregnancy. See a follow-up article for more details on this topic.
In the run-up to the autumn lambing season, internal parasites can be a major challenge (especially in the summer rainfall areas). Reduced appetite, diarrhea, irritation (nasal worm), anemia etc. are some of the adverse effects that internal parasites can have. This can lead to many other negative consequences for the ewe and unborn lambs. A follow-up article will address this aspect in more detail.
Good immunity is one of the most important pillars of good health care. The immune system of late pregnant ewes is under severe pressure and needs to be supported. For the ewe itself, especially with an increase in good quality nutrition in late pregnancy, it is essential that immunity against puply kidney (Clostridium spp) is optimized by vaccination.
The newborn lamb is born without immunity and is totally dependent on good quality colostrum high in antibodies, to get its immune system into gear. By vaccinating late pregnancy ewes (clostridium-related diseases and pasteurella), the quality of colostrum can be increased. This will protect the lamb in the first few weeks as best as possible. Please contact your local veterinarian for the most suitable vaccines for your area. NB. General nutrition and trace minerals can affect the effectiveness of vaccines.
As areas vary, it is always wise to consult your local veterinarian, nutritionist and Virbac Technical Sales Advisor to ensure the use of the correct products and nutrition.