1 March 1996

Ewe prolapses – over-eating?

INCREASED incidence of prolapses in ewes, being reported by some flockmasters, could be related to over-eating during mid-pregnancy in the flush of autumn grass.

ADAS sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings says too much fat stored in eweS puts pressure on internal organs, increasing prolapse risk.

"Higher quality silage could be contributing to fatness," says Dr Stubbings.

Producers may also have bought concentrates containing poorer ingredients than in previous years due to higher ingredient costs. This could slow digestion putting pressure on the abdomen.

"But even when prolapses are occurring in a flock, avoid making significant nutritional changes, because these may trigger twin lamb disease or acidosis."

She advises producers to have concentrate protein levels checked and adjusted to ensure the RDP and DUP balance is correct.

"Ensure each ewe receives the right amount of feed at feeding time; no more than 0.5kg in one go.

John Vipond of the Scottish Agricultural College warns that lack of trough space can also increase the risk of a prolapse.

"Prolapsed ewes should be treated quickly and fitted with trusses or T-retainers. They should be marked and culled because more than 70% will prolapse next year.