21 November 1997

Early lambers face fall in percentages

SOME sheep producers with early lambers are facing reduced lambing percentages because of poor conception rates and foetal numbers.

So says Ledbury-based vet Derek Stoakes, after scanning flocks throughout Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Poor condition at tupping may be one of the main causes of reduced conception, says Mr Stoakes. "In some cases, older ewes may have been retained rather than replaced; they require more care and attention."

Foot-rot may also contribute to poor condition and conception rates, he warns. "This can often be apparent from the smell when they come through for scanning, and must be cleared up."

Ewes still in poor condition, and carrying multiple foetuses should be offered supplements.

feeding. But be more cautious when considering feeding ewes scanned as single-bearers, as lambs may become over-size, he warns.