16 May 1997

Give shelter to May lambers

MAY lambers facing cold, wet, windy conditions should be prepared to take ewes and lambs inside for 12 hours after lambing if necessary.

Scottish Agricultural College sheep specialist John Vipond says that lambing in a field with natural shelter will help, but where conditions are extreme or poor weather is prolonged, taking ewes and lambs inside may help.

"When cold weather is forecast, ensure ewes are in a field with access to shelter for lambing. Where no natural features provide protection, place bales in a field corner."

Wet weather causes ewes to bunch up, leading to increased risk of mis-mothering, and more work, warns Dr Vipond. "If severe weather is forecast overnight have additional colostrum on hand for lambs in the field."

He advises against feeding ewes concentrate in poor weather. "There have been few difficulties so far, and ewes are unlikely to require any feed other than grass, even where they are housed overnight." &#42