Pre-tupping bolus ensured lambing numbers were up

Sam Keatley
Sam Keatley

Working alongside my father Don and brother Robert, we have 350 commercial ewes (mostly Romney-Texel) just outside Castlederg, County Tyrone.

After getting good results from the Mayo Health Care 8 week lamb bolus, we decided last year to move over to the Mayo Health Care “All Guard Ewe bolus”.

Understandably, with the tough winter, lamb numbers were down a bit in general compared to the previous year.

Though we bucked the trend, and had an increase of 10% in lambing numbers. Nothing else changed in our flock management system apart from changing to the MHC “All Guard Ewe Bolus”.

The MHC bolus, compared to the previous bolus we used, had a higher level of iodine, the same level of selenium, but had double the cobalt and zinc added as well. They had a bolus with copper, but as we have a strong line of Texel breeding, we decided against it.

We did not change anything with our flock management plan, so obviously, I put the 10% increase in lamb numbers down to the high level of cobalt. Our farm, like a lot of farms, is deficient in Cobalt, so it seems like the only plausible explanation.

Ewes grazing pasture deficient in Cobalt require supplementation of 2mg per day, and the Mayo Health Care bolus, is the only ewe bolus, that matches this requirement.

My theory of cobalt deficiency was backed up by the fact, we had a noticeable bloom with the ewes, within two weeks of administering the bolus.

In short, we found using the bolus:

- Lambing numbers up.

- A noticeable bloom on the ewes.

- A more healthy and lively ewe.

- An easier shorter lambing period. The vast majority of our ewes lambed within a two week period.