Health planning for store lambs

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Now is the time to start doing the procedures outlined in your flock health plan as this year’s store lambs arrive.

On arrival, lambs should be grouped based on weights and whether they will be early/mid/late finishers, so that growth rates can be accurately evaluated.

Disease prevention is also important at this stage to prevent conditions developing that could hinder lamb performance – particularly in situations where lambs have been purchased from several different sources.

Good husbandry should aim to keep mortality below two per cent.

Treatment with an avermectin injection will treat against worms and scab.

This should be combined with a Class IV or V wormer (zolvix or stardect) to ensure no resistant worms are brought into the farm.

With worm resistance present on most farms, it is important to ensure accurate dosing, based on lamb weights and gun calibration.

Liver fluke infestations are on the increase and can significantly affect growth rates, a fluke treatment targeting both immature and mature fluke stages may be of benefit.

However, with both worming and fluke treatments, withdrawal times should be taken into consideration. In light of effective flukicides against immature fluke having extended withdrawal times, it may be of benefit to get a sample of lamb’s blood tested for fluke damage prior to starting treatment.

Many store lambs are sourced from land deficient in trace elements, so supplementation will help to provide that boost to keep weight gains on target. A gain of 1kg/week should be achievable.

Pasturellosis can have devastating consequences on morbidity and mortality, and is a particular problem in autumn/winter. Lambs that have not received adequate pasturella vaccination should receive a course on purchase.