Sheep - Things to do this Month - September

SHEEP – for a March/April lambing flock:


  • Ear tag all lambs before they reach 6 months
  • Continue to be on guard against internal parasites in the lamb flock and carry out FECs on a regular basis: treat promptly with the most appropriate drench if indicated – this regime should pay for itself in reduced usage of drenches, faster growing lambs, and avoidance of resistant parasites on your holding
  • Monitor lambs’ growth by Condition Scoring and, if possible, weighing. When selecting for slaughter, aim for a ‘liveweight’ of 42kg to make an 18kg carcase (for lowland/commercial breeds)
  • Our DVD “Sheep for Business, Enterprise & Profit” fully explains how to select lambs for slaughter, with Adam Henson and Meat Consultant, Jim Sharrock, describing the unique characteristics of a variety of rare breeds, as well as commercial-type lambs
  • Be aware of ‘Meat Withdrawal Periods’ when giving any medicines or treatments to lambs intended for slaughter
  • Now that grass growth is slowing, consider selling surplus lambs as ‘stores’, if not ready for slaughter and you don’t have enough grazing/forage to over-winter at home
  • Decide on your breeding strategy for the year ahead, based on particular characteristics you wish to strengthen in your flock – if you’re purchasing a new ram for the season (and remember, the ram contributes 50% of the flock genetics), this exercise will help you decide what to look for
  • Next, study this year’s lambing records – this will help you decide which ewes to retain in the flock:
    • ewes that lambed easily
    • ewes that milked well and raised two good twins
    • ewes that maintained condition, and are sound in udder, feet and teeth
  • Select the best ewe lambs to keep as replacements
  • If you plan to purchase replacement breeding stock (ewes and rams), be sure to quarantine in line with your Flock Health Plan
  • Depending on your flock history and your ‘flock risk assessment’ Vaccination against abortion – Toxoplasmosis (‘toxo’) or Enzootic (‘enzo’) should be given 4 weeks before tupping
  • Schmallenberg: a vaccine is now available (Bovilis SBV) which will protect your flock, and should be administered at least 3 weeks before the ram joins the ewes
  • Towards the end of the month, give rams a full ‘MOT’ (check Teeth, Toes, Testicles, Penis, Tone (aiming for Body Condition Score of 4 at tupping), and make sure all his treatments are up to date. (Watch our YouTube Channel with Adam Henson demonstrating how to MOT a ram).
  • ‘Flush’ ewes on best pasture in readiness for tupping (allow at least 6 weeks before you plan to introduce the ram) – and prepare now for a successful lambing in 2014 with our DVD “click here
  • Liver Fluke: Be aware of the symptoms of the acute stage of liver fluke. Any sudden loss of condition or unexplained death should be investigated. Signs of sub-acute disease, the next stage, include lethargy, poor body condition, poor fleece quality and reduced grazing. Chronic fascioliasis is usually not seen until January, but may occur earlier in wet weather. At this stage, disease can be detected in faecal samples; acute and sub-acute disease is diagnosed though blood samples that will show raised liver enzymes, and should be treated strategically in line with your Flock Health Plan. If sheep graze wet pastures, consider dosing, and choose your drench carefully to make sure it is effective against the early immature fluke stage of the disease. For a complete explanation of the complex lifecycle and treatment of this disease, (click here) to watch a video presented by Michaela Strachan.