9 February 1996

Too-thin ewes risk diseases

FLOCKMASTERS who started feeding their ewes too late and failed to take account of the low quality grass on offer could find some are now too thin.

Dr Tony Andrews of the Royal Vet College warns these thin ewes will be at higher risk of suffering pregnancy toxaemia (twin lamb disease). Furthermore, the loss of appetite that results may trigger calcium and magnesium deficiencies before lambing.

To safeguard against such ailments it is essential ewes are condition scored monthly and then fortnightly as lambing approaches. They should also be split into feeding groups, according to condition and lambing date, advises Dr Andrews (see p48).