EWETOPIA consultant Ken Hart likens lamb survival potential to knowing how to fix a car in need of repair.
“If your car breaks down, if you don’t know what’s wrong with it, you can’t fix it.”
So, by understanding what’s actually killing lambs, sheep producers can put in place strategies to prevent or reduce deaths, the Western Australian sheep consultant said.
The most common reasons for lamb deaths, and how to identify the causes and strategies to maximise survival will be outlined at ‘What Killed Your Lamb’ workshops at Esperance on June 7 and 8.
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Mr Hart said 80-90 percent of lamb death cases relate to the way the ewe was treated during pregnancy.
“Twin-bearing ewes and single-bearing ewes have completely different nutritional requirements.
“You can over-feed a single-bearing ewe and the lamb gets too big, creating birthing difficulties, and conversely if you under under-feed a twin-bearing ewe the lambs don’t big enough, they struggle to get to birth weight and the ewe doesn’t produce enough colostrum and milk to feed two lambs.”
The Lifetime Ewe Management trainer said the half-day ‘What Killed Your Lamb’ workshops will also show why sheep producers should do a full LTEM course.
Mr Hart said lambs are now more valuable to producers than they have ever been, but on average around 20pc of lambs don’t live till weaning and about 90pc of those will not live more than four days.
Places in the free three-hour workshop are limited, but producers who have already attended one and want to repeat it are also welcome, he said. The course is fully-funded by the Department of Agriculture and Food WA.
Producers are encouraged to bring dead lambs for a post-mortem to learn how to identify the causes of lamb deaths. They should also bring a sharp knife, a pair of scissors and a pair of hoof-paring secateurs.
“A lot of people still blame foxes, but foxes for the most part are just scavengers and eat the dead ones,” Mr Hart said.