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HomeFarming NewsPlan, prevent and protect: The 3 Ps of lambing success
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Plan, prevent and protect: The 3 Ps of lambing success

The three Ps – plan, prevent and protect – are the cornerstones of a successful lambing season, a veterinary consultant has told a webinar.

Fiona Lovatt of Flock Health LTD – a sheep veterinary consultancy business – was one of three guest speakers who featured as part of the National Sheep Association’s lambing webinar earlier this week.

Lovatt went on to discuss each of the two aspects in more detail, which That’s Farming has summarised in this news article:


  • Analyse forage and arrange a quality diet;
  • Sort case of new-born lambs – minimise stress and maximise colostrum;
  • Monitor colostrum quality and transfer;
  • Keep good records – know what the situation is.


  • You need to prevent anything that is unnecessary, whether that is cold conditions, a dirty lambing shed, dirty hands, dirty equipment, untrained staff with no/little to lambing experience;
  • Prevent disease with good hygiene practices;
  • No draughts;
  • No wet bedding – fresh and dry;
  • Turn-out ASAP;
  • Clean and disinfect your equipment and lambing pens and shed.


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  • BCS: Have ewe fit, not fat but well fed: Ensure they have the correct BCS (Body Condition Score);
  • Nutrition: Quality balanced diet – plan accordingly. 6-8 weeks before lambing season is “crucial” from a diet/nutrition perspective;
  • Colostrum: Quality, quantity and correct timing;
  • Health: Ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date;
  • Mobility: Sound in foot – not lame – ensure they are not spreading footrot bacteria;
  • Hygiene: Dagged and clean;
  • Housing: Ensuring your sheds, pens, and facilities are in the best possible condition.
Vet consultant comments:

“Hopefully, this summarises where we are in terms of good practice. A lot of it depends on getting a full battery-full of colostrum into that lamb as early as possible.”

“When we get lambs with watery mouth, they basically suck on a wet piece of wool or a bit of straw and get E.coli into their guts before they got colostrum.”

“If we get colostrum in their first, we do not have a problem. Colostrum is gold,” she told farmers.

She then provided attendees with the following ‘core rules’ of lambing:

  • Focus on colostrum, ewe nutrition, BCS and hygiene at lambing;
  • Routine prophylaxis ‘just in case’ is “not appropriate under any circumstances”;
  • Targeted use within a group at risk “may be appropriate” where there is a current clearly identified need, but she stressed, “you cannot determine this before landing”– always consult with your own vet.

Previous article on Vet’s Corner with lambing tips: ‘A ewe is basically like a mini cow’

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