Farmers lose many newborn lambs in the cold, wet conditions.LIBBY PRICE July 17, 2014 8:00am
The late winter cold snap on top of record autumn rain has killed many newborn lambs in the Benalla district.
One farmer who didn’t want to be named lost 12 per cent of his lambs from a mob of pregnant ewes he bought which lambed later than his other sheep.
Department of Environment and Primary Industries district veterinary officer John Ryan said ironically it was often the good farm managers with improved pastures who had the highest mortality rates in sheep.
‘‘The worst managers have the best success because there’s more rubbish around that stock won’t eat, which gives them protection — like tussocks and fallen trees.
‘‘It’s a matter of picking the paddocks for lambing ewes and sheep off shears. If they get wet and there’s wind they’ll lose up to 18 per cent of body heat fairly rapidly and start going into hypothermia, then comatose and then they die,’’ Dr Ryan said.
He said it helped to put sheep in a rough old paddock or on the leeward side of a hill.
‘‘Some farmers says shearing ewes prior to lambing encourages the mothers to find shelter for themselves, which helps save the newborn lambs. When they’re just born they’re drenched in amniotic fluid and you can lose them hand over fist, basically to exposure.’’
A study by the DEPI that looked at 200 lamb deaths in recent years concluded most died at birth or soon after. While many were found mutilated by foxes or crows, post mortems showed very few lambs were found to have been killed by predators.
Dr Ryan said lambs could be saved when they were at the comatose stage if their body temperature was quickly brought back to normal.
‘‘The old-fashioned remedy of popping the lamb into the Aga stove, obviously not in the hot oven, but to warm them up, or wrapping them up and putting them in front of the fire .
‘‘Feeding them infant formula will cause more problems than it solves.
‘‘Once they’re up bouncing around like a normal lamb, they have a better chance if you put them out with their mothers.’’
Higher numbers of Queensland fruit fly prompts call for people to clean up gardens.
The Yarrawonga Mulwala B Grade Rams have secured the Des Johnston Shield as WDCA B Grade Two Day Premiers for season 2014/2015 with a crushing win over City Colts.
Mystery and romance abound in a new novel from leading lady of Australian women’s fiction, Fleur McDonald.
For a long time, Ben O’Dea was not sure whether he lived at the Royal Children’s Hospital or in Moama.
Rochester Football Netball Club hosted an information evening last week in collaboration with Ambulance Victoria to educate members on the correct use of the club’s defibrillator.
20th Heritage Day a hit
Councillors last night put out for public comment a draft budget which proposed a lower-than-expected increase.
Finley have now formed their own Local Health Advisory Committee.
Heathcote Primary School put on a colourful display for Easter on Friday with an Easter hat parade featuring everything from the very edible to amazingly tall.
VicRoads will review speed limits on the Murray Valley Highway in Cobram and Strathmerton following petitions calling for them to be lowered.
Leading concert artist Daniel de Borah will perform in Deniliquin tonight as part of the South West Music 2015 concert series.
Toolamba Primary School student Felix Turnbull is looking forward to seeing his face on new SPC labels that will be on supermarket shelves across the nation.
Benalla streets have come alive with street art. The large painted images adorn some of the town's buildings, creating a spectacular sight.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.