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.’’
Neighbourhood Watch Week will start with a sizzle — a sausage sizzle to be precise — at Sevens Creek Dve in Kialla.
Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) and other emergency services are preparing for the next round of wild weather in the north-east.
It was clear blue skies last Tuesday for the official launch of the Gargarro (pronounced Ga-gar-ro) Botanic Gardens in Girgarre.
SNAKES will be coming out of hiding as the weather warms up.
KATH Bubb has been recognised for 50 years of service with the Ballendella Red Cross.
IT EXPERTISE in Kyabram has received recognition after Advance Computing won a Microsoft Australia Partner Award in the excellence in regional area customer category.
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When Pyalong Primary School does something, it does it well. Here are the students all dressed up for the school's recent Roald Dahl day to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the author’s birth on September 13, 1916.
Yarroweyah's Katie Anderson will be heading to Wisconsin in the United States after winning the Dairy Youth Travel Scholarship.
After a 30-year career as an accountant in Deniliquin, Peter Skipworth officially retires today.
Tuesday, August 16
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