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It’s that time of year again. Are you prepared?

It’s that time of year again when we are counting down the days until our first lambs are due. Are you prepared?

The farming industry is making a conscious effort to reduce antibiotic usage – especially surrounding lambing. As a Nation, since 2014 the UK have successfully reduced antibiotic usage by 50% [1] This is fantastic news, however we must not rest on our laurels, but continue to work hard to follow latest guidelines and advice to ensure we continue tackling the issue.

Watery Mouth is a disease effecting lambs, that most sheep farmers are familiar with. Traditionally, this condition that is caused by an infection of E. coli would likely have been treated with antibiotics. We should always look to prevention rather than cure and one of the things that we can do is make sure the ewe has optimum levels of all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements in her prior to lambing.
The quality of the colostrum that she produces, is largely dependent on her nutrition in the run up to lambing and lambs need good quality colostrum (within the first 2h of its life) for the best chances of survival [3]. Roughly 50% of lamb mortality occurs within the first 48h of its life, with ewe nutrition being one of the most important factors [2].
Lambs are born without protection against disease because there is no transfer of maternal antibodies to the foetus. This means that they have to rely on the colostrum that they get, containing enough antibodies to help them fight disease. It has been reported [3], that a shocking 22% of ewes produce inadequate colostrum. It is therefore important that we supplement lambs with additional levels of antibodies ASAP after birth – with a good quality colostrum such as Ovicol [3].



1) RUMA’s ‘Targets Task Force Report 2020’. Available: [Accessed: 28 January 2021]

2) NADIS Animal Health Skills ‘Lambing Part 5 Diseases of Newborn Lambs’. September 2019. Available: [Accessed 28th January 2021]

3) BVA. Bond, C. Evaluation of lamb Colostrum Supplements November 2020. Available: [Accessed 28 January 2021]

Additional info:
Department of Agriculture, Environmental and Rural Affairs. Feeding the pregnant ewe. 25 January 2018. Available: [Accessed: 28 January 2021]