With anything, planning ahead is always well worth it, especially when dealing with sheep! When it comes to housing and shed environment putting plans into place can help mitigate against health issues and it’s spread to other ewes and lambs.
We recommend a minimum pen size of 2m x 1m, with a pen for every eight ewes, with hay rack, feed bucket and water bucket for each pen area. Try not to share buckets across pens to minimise the spread of any potential diseases. Studies have shown that hypothermia, infectious disease, such as diarrhoea and watery mouth and hard lambings are the main causes for neonatal deaths. Body temperature is a major contributor towards this, with small lambs losing heat much quicker due to their surface area to weight ratio.
Ensuring your lambing shed offers the best environment for newborn lambs is critical:
- Keep pens well-bedded (aim for a nesting score of 5!), changing between ewes.
- Ensure there are no draughts or leaks, especially at ewe and lamb levels.
- Keep pens dry and clean and disinfect regularly.
- Clean feeding equipment, disinfect teats, tubes, buckets – it’s the perfect place for bacteria to live!
- Have an isolation pen set up and ready – isolating sick ewes or lambs from healthy ones minimises the spread.
- Don’t forget comfort! It needs to be soft and cushioned for ewes and lambs to lie on.
To ensure ewes have sufficient lying areas and are able to display natural signs of behaviour, we recommend the below standards.
For further information on NWF Sheep Feeds, please click HERE.