As lambing looms, take time to plan ahead and look back to lessons learned last year.
What did you promise yourself to do differently this spring and which items in the lambing cupboard ran out on the busiest night of the year?
So get stocked up with lubricant, disposable gloves, disinfectant, markers/tags, iodine solution, glucose solution, electrolytes, infra-red lamps, a warming box, prolapse harnesses and lambing ropes. Plus, of course, sterile needles, sterile syringes, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories.
Make sure you have both Volac Volostrum and Lamlac, the good quality milk replacer, to hand for orphan lambs, triplets and poor doers.
The very best substitute for ewe colostrum is naturally colostrum from another ewe. If not available then cow colostrum can be used or a colostrum substitute of which the most popular and proven is Volac Volostrum.
Until the end of March Volac are giving a free 500g pouch of Volostrum with every 2.5kg tub you purchase of this natural alternative to colostrum.
Teated bottles or an automatic milk machine will be required and stomach tubes are vital for weaker lambs.
Scales, a thermometer and a whisk are essential for preparing Lamlac milk replacer accurately. Do the job right or risk watching them die so read the instruction on the back of that bag carefully.
No matter how tired you and your legs become all feeding equipment needs cleaned daily and disinfected twice weekly.
So plan now to make the chore as simple as possible. When short of sleep making best use of your time and energy is vital.
Good record keeping ensures you and your helpers know how individual animals have been treated and what actions need to be taken. Tiredness plays tricks with the memory so if in doubt write it down.
Record numbers of all lambs born – both alive and dead, to build up a picture of where lamb losses are occurring.
Try to record the number of ewes that abort or do not lamb and also the number lost between scanning and lambing. If possible note likely cause of death.
This recorded information will help improve both future flock performance and your performance as a lamber.
To find out more and receive a free lambing guide Freephone 0800 919808, browse www.lamlac.co.uk or contact Volac NI business manager Alistair Sampson tel; 07860 626 442.