We have been busy lamb marking the lambs from our Primeline ewes born in August/September. These lambs were all from ewes that were ultrasound scanned with twins and triplets. The reproduction rate, also known as the lamb marking percentage came in at 151% meaning an average of 1.51 lambs per ewe.
We were really pleased with the lamb marking percentage which exceeded our expectations following a harsh dry autumn and a cold winter. Plenty of trees and rolling hills provide shelter for the lambing ewes and the new lambs to protect them from the worst of the elements. All our sheep are free range and grass fed roaming paddocks that average 25 hectares each with biodiverse pastures consisting of at least 10 grass and legume species. The predominant species include Ryegrass, Tall Fescue, Phalaris and Clover. Despite our biodiverse pastures, one of the driest autumns on record limited the amount of pasture growth leading into the winter period when our cold climate inhibits pasture growth. Foreplaning, strategic rotational grazing plans and stocking rates helped make sure that all our lambing ewes had access to adequate pasture at all times. It is really important to us to ensure that their nutritional needs are met to produce healthy lambs of good birth weight, which helps the lamb survival rate. Healthy lambing ewes with adequate nutrition in turn also enhances the process of ewe/lamb bonding and ensures that the ewes have plentiful milk supply (including essential colostrum production) filled with all the nutrients for lamb growth.
The lamb marking process includes earmarking, tagging, castration, tail-docking and vaccination of the lambs whilst they were in the cradle. Lamb marking is necessary and important stage in the lamb rearing process. In NSW it is compulsory to put the owner's registered mark in the off-side ear of ewes and near side for males, using the specially designed ear-marks unique to each property. Ear tagging is essential for identifying sheep correctly which maintains the traceability and biosecurity. The vaccinations are an important husbandry practise for health and welfare management and tail docking is for hygiene and minimises the risk of blowfly strike. The lambs were then returned to their paddock and will be left for the next few weeks to grow, graze and play!