Newborn Lamb Care Management

Jeffery Held, Professor Emeritus of Animal Science, South Dakota State University
(Previously published online with South Dakota State University Extension: December 19, 2018)

Proper newborn lamb care is a critical component of flock profitability. In the U.S. lamb mortality from all causes is approximately 20% with more than 80% of those losses occurring in the first two-weeks following lambing. Yet a solid lamb care management plan coupled with a few key tools in the lambing barn can sharply improve the number of lambs reared per-ewe. Generally, the top causes for newborn lamb losses are starvation, hypothermia (cold stress), respiratory disease, and scours followed by injury. Theoretically, these categories each stand alone, however the reality is often two-or-three of these occur simultaneously. Producers that develop a lambing time-management plan to incorporate appropriate lambing tools and gain key skills on newborn lamb care will benefit from less labor input and expense with a greater number of lambs weaned.

In the winter, lambing management systems common to the Upper Midwest have simple lambing tools that can help reduce common problems with newborn lambs, including starvation, hypothermia, and injury. Continue reading

Lambing and Kidding Simulator

Looking for tips and tricks on how to deliver lambs and kids in difficult situations? Practice makes perfect! Be sure to check out OSU Extension’s Jacci Smith as she demonstrates how to work through some of these difficult situations using a visual simulator.

Managing Risk: Using Heat Lamps on the Farm

Michael Glos, Cornell University Guest Writer
(Previously published with Cornell Small Farms Program: April 7, 2014)

No farmer wants to have a fire, but we all practice fire prevention in different ways.

It is an accepted premise that farming is a daily lesson in managing risk. Some farmers are more risk averse than others but we all find our comfort level and work from there. For example: I am not comfortable borrowing $100,000, while I know other farmers of my same scale who are. The risk of a fire on the farm is another area which is managed differently by each farmer. No farmer wants to have a fire, but we all practice fire prevention in different ways. Continue reading

Colostrum and Health of Newborn Lambs

Dr. Dan Morrical, Extension Sheep Specialist, Iowa State University
Dr. Nolan R. Hartwig, Extension Veterinarian, Iowa State University
Dr. Curtis Youngs, Animal Science Associate Professor, Iowa State University
(Previously published online with Iowa State University Extension: June 1995)

(Image Source: Cindy Roesinger)

I was always taught that repetition is the key to learning and that in order to fully understand a concept, viewing it from different angles always helps. Although this article is a bit dated, it provides the basics of an important timely concept. Good luck with your 2021 lambing/kidding season and enjoy this quick read from Iowa State University!

Keeping newborn lambs alive and healthy is the greatest management challenge facing sheep producers. An important strategy for meeting this challenge is making sure that lambs receive adequate colostrum during the first two to three hours of life. The effect of colostrum on the health, survival, and performance of newborn lambs cannot be overrated.

The Importance of Colostrum
Colostrum is the “first milk” that ewes produce after lambing. Colostrum has a high level of several nutrients that are important for lamb health and performance. Colostrum also contains Continue reading

Preparing for Lambing Season

Do you have left over lanyards from previous conventions and meetings? If so, have you ever considered some alternative uses for these on the farm? If not, be sure to check out this short 5-minute clip for the University of Kentucky on how these draw cluttering knickknacks can be beneficial in your lambing kit this year.

The Benefits of Shearing Before Lambing

Richard Ehrhardt, Michigan State University Extension Specialist, Small Ruminants
(Previously published on MSU Extension, Sheep & Goat)

Shearing before lambing is a practice that benefits the welfare of the sheep as well as making management easier and increasing flock productivity. There are important considerations to keep in mind to perform this practice effectively. These relate primarily to timing relative to birth, stubble length, feeding, and protection post-shearing. If these conditions are considered carefully, the benefits are significant to both sheep and shepherd.

#1. Drier environment: Wool holds considerable moisture, with a full fleece capable of absorbing a lot of water under humid climates, even when sheep are housed indoors. This moisture holding capacity of wool creates a microclimate close to the lamb that is relatively damp, thus creating a prime environment for hosting pathogens and allowing them to proliferate. Both the

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The Selection of Replacement Ewes, and the use of Records and Visual Appraisal to Help in that Selection

A. Richard Cobb, University of Illinois, Extension Sheep Specialist
(Previously published with University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Livestock Trail, Sheep and Goats: July 20,2004)

One of the main reasons for the long term success or failure of a flock is the selection of replacement ewes to be added to the breeding unit of that flock. Whether purchased or raised, replacements need to compliment or advance the genetics already working within the flock. While it is true that ram selection can have the greatest short term impact on a flock, the selection of replacement females of sound structure and genetics will help to ensure the continuance of a high quality, problem-free breeding unit.

To make intelligent replacement additions to a flock that will benefit that flock a shepherd must Continue reading