Farm - 18-04-2023 - - 0 comments
Smallholders News

Smallholder's Spring Newsletter here in full - click to download

Lambing and Kidding

With lambs and kids arriving left, right, and centre it is a great time to talk about lambing and kidding. Once the lambs/kids are born, it's important to pen them together with the ewe/doe to ensure optimal bonding. These pens want to be cleaned and disinfected in between uses.  

Navel Disinfection

Navel disinfection early on is important to avoid contamination of the navel and subsequent infections such as navel infection, watery mouth and joint ill. Ideally, navels are dipped with a 10% iodine solution as soon as possible after birth, and this is repeated 2-4hrs later. Ensure the entire navel is dipped/sprayed thoroughly, especially the end which is generally the entry way for bacteria. 

Colostrum is "Liquid Gold"

Colostrum is the first milk a ewe/doe produces, and is full of antibodies which are important to protect newborn lambs/kids from disease. Once the lambs/kids are born, it is important to check the dam's udder and make sure she has two functional teats with a good milk supply. Ideally, you want to observe the lamb sucking within the first hour; if needed you can support them by guiding them towards the teat. If they won't drink, it's important to either bottle feed them or tube them as adequate colostrum uptake is extremely important for the rest of the kids/does life going forward. Colostrum provides antibodies required to fight all sorts of infections, and a lack of it can result in weak or sick lambs/kids and can lead to death. 

Newborn lambs/kids require a minimum of 50ml of colostrum per kg bodyweight in the first 4-6 hours. For most newborn lambs this equals 200-250ml of colostrum depending on breed and size. They then need subsequent feeds of colostrum to ensure they receive a total of 200ml/kg bodyweight in the first 24hrs. The abdomen of the lamb/kid can be palpated to check if it has been drinking and feels full.

The best colostrum is the one from the ewe/doe, but colostrum replacements are available if needed. Please ask veterinary advice if a replacement is needed as not all are adequate.

Tail docking and castration

Remember this needs to happen within the first 7 days of the lambs/kids being born. A NSAID at the same time such as Metacam is recommended for pain relief. 

For the full newsletter please click the link at the top of the page

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