12 March 1999

Worm your ewes before turnout

WORMING ewes in pens before turnout will stop lambs becoming infected by contaminated pasture.

MLC sheep scientist Jenny Anderson says this is important because ewes suffer a dramatic rise in eggs shed three days after lambing. "When ewes are in pens after lambing worm them and check their feet," she says.

Even when ewes will be turned out 24 or 48 hours after lambing, worming helps to flush out infective larvae before pastures are contaminated. This means lambs face fewer challenges from worms in early life.

Ewes immune systems are at their lowest ebb after lambing and high worm counts can also lead to a drop-off in milk, plus increased susceptibility to other diseases.

Dr Anderson says it is worth checking with your vet which wormers work best in your area. Also, have a sample of ewes faeces worm counted as this helps to establish to what level ewes are infected.

Maintain lamb growth by keeping grazing as clean as possible. This can be done either by rotating pastures with cattle or installing a lamb creep gate so lambs can graze ahead of ewes on clean grass, she says. &#42