4 September 2019
We are supporting #LoveLambWeek this week September 1 – 7 which aims to showcase the high quality lamb produced here in the UK at a time when it’s in peak supply.
On the sheep unit at Harper Adams, the ewes are all Suffolk X North of England mules and are mated with Texel rams to produce Suffolk Mule X Texel lambs which can be seen in the photos below. These lambs were born between mid-February and early March this year.
The lambs below are grazing on permanent pasture. The fields are sub-divided to increase the number of fields available for rotation which is all part of providing safe grazing and reducing the worm burden.
Yesterday, the lambs were being weighed. The purpose of this is to monitor weight gain. Any of the lambs that weigh over 40kg with enough finish are ready and are put into a separate pen.
Each lamb has an electronic identification (EID) tag in its ear which is a number unique to that animal. Farm staff use a reader which is held near to the tag and picks up the lamb's number. It is a legal requirement for sheep to have a type of EID identifier, usually, this is in the form of an ear tag.
Another task that the farm staff must complete is applying Crovect which is a pour-on solution used to prevent and treat blowfly strike. Blowfly strike is a severe welfare problem in sheep at this time of year, caused by the green bottle fly, so it is important to correctly prevent this. Crovect is also used for the control of head flies and the treatment of lice and ticks.
Finally, faecal samples are collected to send off to the lab. Faecal egg counts are used to assess the worm burden. These are monitored regularly and they determine the need for anthelmintic treatment.