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Pre-lamb ewe management

Pre-lamb ewe management

Pre-lamb ewe management

Healthy ewes milk better, produce heavier lambs and recover more easily in preparation for their next mating. Importantly, they also deposit fewer worm larvae on pasture for lambs to combat.

The demands on a pregnant ewe are high. Not only are they growing at least one foetus but their ability to eat enough to meet their energy requirements lessens. Weather conditions are often worsening and pasture levels may be dropping. These factors in combination with the physiological process of lambing, result in lowered immunity so it is important to equip ewes to continue to perform through this challenging time.

Adequate mineral levels are essential for healthy, strong newborn lambs and ewe health. Selenium is vital for growth, reproduction and a strong immune system. In deficient areas, a pre-lamb treatment enhances the ewe’s immune system, improves milk production and protects lambs against white muscle disease.

Horizon Cobalject+ Se provides adequate selenium to ewes pre-lamb. An unselenised version, Horizon Cobalject, can be given to lambs at docking to enhance B12 levels for optimal growth.

A well-fed ewe with a body condition score of 3 or greater is in a good position to withstand a worm challenge around lambing. However, a selection of younger, multiple bearing and poorer condition ewes do not always have the extra energy required by the immune system to overcome this as effectively. Limiting pre-drench treatments to this higher-risk group leaves an undrenched population to provide refugia. A feacal egg count (FEC) conducted pre-lamb can be useful in guiding drenching decisions.

Drench options include a triple combination oral drench to knockdown any worm burden present pre-lambing. Consider VETMED’s Triplemax Sheep Oral at 1 mL per 5 kg live weight or VETMED Triplemax Oral at 1 mL per 10 kg. Horizon MoxiSure LA delivers moxidectin via subcutaneous injection at a dose rate of 1 mL per 20 kg live weight, providing long-acting protection against sensitive strains of the most common sheep internal parasites.

Used in a selection of high-risk animals, a long-acting drench can be extremely beneficial, though an FEC within the payout period is recommended to monitor for resistance. Docking can be a convenient time to do this.

An oral drench such as VETMED Combomax can be given at the same time as Horizon MoxiSure LA to provide a primer dose to the long-acting treatment. If doing this in combination with a clostridial vaccination, be aware of how many products contain minerals such as selenium and select unmineralised products where necessary to avoid toxicity.

An exit drench with an effective product can also be considered when using long-acting products. Care must be taken with Moxisure LA as the withholding period of 127 days from ewe injection applies to not only the ewe but also the lamb, so early treatment of high-risk animals is recommended.

Build your pre-lamb ewe health plan with your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.

Registered pursuant to ACVM Act 1997, Horizon Cobalject 1000 B12 Injection #A011690, Horizon Cobalject 1000 B12 Injection + Selenium #A011692, Horizon Cobalject 2000 B12 Injection #A011694, Horizon Cobalject 2000 B12 Injection + Selenium #A011696, Moxi LA Injection for Sheep #A011772, VETMED Triplemax Sheep Oral #A011735, VETMED Triplemax Oral #A011076, and VETMED Combomax Oral #A010966. Always read the registered label before use.