13 December 1996

Fatter ewes are at high risk of twin lamb disease

SHEEP

SHEEP producers with fatter ewes this winter are warned that the risks of twin lamb disease are high if nutrition is not managed carefully.

Hereford vet Derek Stoakes says that ewes with abdomens full of fat cannot get as much feed in the rumen. "They then get short of energy and mobilise fat to the liver, which can cause fatty liver and twin lamb disease."

He advises scanning to determine how many lambs are being carried and to identify the stage of pregnancy. Ewes can then be split into feeding groups that are also based on condition score.

Feeding must start early enough and ewes rationed correctly through until lambing, he says. When possible shearing fat ewes may help, as it encourages higher intakes.


SHEEP: WATCH FOR


&#8226 Poor nutrition during pregnancy.

&#8226 Foot-rot.

&#8226 Deficiency diseases.