4 June 1999

Foam lining offers a bathing solution

FOAM may be the answer to many producers handling problems when treating lambs for scald, it reduces stress and eases the workload.

Wilts producer Roland Bonney became so exasperated with footbathing lambs last year he chose a low-cost solution and added 5cm (2in) of foam to the bottom of his footbath.

Ordinary sponge

"Its a bit of ordinary sponge, which costs about £40 for an 8ft by 3ft footbath.

"It makes a difference when treating lambs. They pass through much more easily when they cant see water or dip their noses in formalin."

After using the bath, he rinses it with water, rolls the foam up and then stamps on it to clean it. He then leaves it to dry.

Mr Bonney has 500 March/April lambing Rouge cross Blackface ewes on rented pasture at Appletrees, Salisbury. "This year scald hasnt been as severe as last, when after 2-3 weeks from lambing we began footbathing lambs and continued to do so regularly," he says.

"Normally we treat any lambs showing signs of scald individually with spray. Then when they are all about six weeks old we footbath them. Without foam it is a nightmare," he says.

"Once we added foam they walked through slowly and would stand in the bath without jumping about."

Despite using dilute formalin to treat scald in lambs, Mr Bonney uses zinc sulphate for foot-rot control in his ewes.

His stringent control programme begins after weaning in summer. "Any ewes that are lame or have visible lesions in their feet are intensively footbathed with zinc sulphate twice-a-week and vaccinated." Those that dont clear up are culled, he adds. &#42