With lambing season in full swing, Thomas Searle, a five year graduated farm only vet working for South Wales Farm Vets based near Llantrisant, answers some frequently asked questions he gets asked over the lambing period:
What is the best powdered colostrum?
s we know lambs receive all their immunity from colostrum. Good quality ewe colostrum contains immunoglobulins at approximately 50g/L. A recent study found the best colostrum powder had 3g/L! Therefore if you can collect your own colostrum from ewes or source fresh cow colostrum then freeze it. Use the powdered colostrum replacers if you have no other alternatives.
How would you treat twin lamb disease?
Twin lamb disease is due to the ewe being in a negative energy balance. This happens during the last trimester of pregnancy due to the increased energy demand of foetal growth.
It often presents similarly to calcium deficiency and calcium is involved with energy metabolism, so twin lamb ewes can also be calcium deficient. When treating I aim to get the ewe eating again. I would give injectable dextrose and calcium, as well as an oral drench packed with energy and calcium. I would also give a NSAID (eg Metacam/Loxicom). This has been shown to increase ewe and lamb survival rates associated with twin lamb disease.
Discuss with your vet about metabolic profiling and ewe nutrition to aid prevention.
Piece of kit you couldn’t lamb without?
My snare! By far has been my most useful tool. It really allows you to guide heads and ideal if they keep flicking back. I use a Daniels lambing snare.
Any advice on making the lambing period less stressful?
Personally I’d recommend being prepared. The lambing period never really stops. The whole year is preparing for the nest lambing. Check ewes pretupping, assess body condition scores teeth and udders will reduce problems to come. Regularly check body condition scores and adjust nutrition accordingly.
Prep the lambing shed, can you alter the set-up to make your life easier? Check your lambing supplies and stock up, there is nothing worse than running out of lube midway through a lambing!
Finally, remember vets are available 24/7 365 days a year. Many have onsite lambing facilities reducing call out fees. Personally I’d much rather be called sooner to a difficult lambing than down the line once everyone has had a go! www.southwalesfarmvets.co.uk