Scanning percentage is the key indicator of how efficient a sheep flock has performed over the mating period.
Making use of scanning data can help reduce ewe wastage, lamb losses and improve lamb growth rates which are also key drivers of flock efficiency. Having information about barren ewes, and which ewes are carrying multiple lambs, has the following advantages:
- Allows identification and culling of dry ewes which has a two-fold effect - will obviously lead to increased cash flow, but will also reduce the overall demand for feed over the winter.
- Lamb survival rates are likely to be improved by improving the birth weights of twin lambs due to preferential feeding of ewes carrying multiple lambs.
- Ewe deaths from twin lamb disease and bearings in those carrying multiple lambs are likely to be reduced due to preferential feeding and better feed allocation.
- Ewes carrying multiple lambs can also be allocated paddocks more suitable for lambing. Lamb losses through starvation and exposure can be reduced markedly through provision of shelter to ewes having multiple lambs. Mis-mothering can also be minimised by lambing multiple-bearing ewes on flatter country.
- By improved feeding of ewes carrying multiple lambs, lamb growth rates will be improved through higher colostrum and milking performance of the ewe. Also, ewes with multiple lambs will be in better condition which will impact on the following mating period.
- Improved reproductive performance will result from using twin lambs for replacements in the breeding flock in the future.
Sheep scanning can also aid in the diagnosis of reproductive problems like Toxoplasmosis and Campylobacteriosis by potentially identifying early lamb losses and/or abnormalities. Additionally, scanning is also a good time to assess ewe body condition scores so that lighter ewes can be separated from the main mob. Light ewes can then be preferentially fed without penalizing the rest of the ewe flock.
We recommend scanning your ewes for multiples between 45 and 90 days of pregnancy. For example, if rams are joined on 10 April and removed on 22 May, then the scanning date is best between 6 and 9 July - this being between 45 days after ram withdrawal and 90 days after joining.
Clients who regularly take advantage of the scanning service offered by Totally Vets and Premier Breeding Services will receive booking forms in the mail. If you do not receive a booking form, are keen to invest in the benefits of scanning but have not done so previously, and/or wish to discuss your individual requirements and the services we can offer, then contact your nearest Totally Vets Group clinic. Alternatively, contact one of our experienced scanners directly for more information without obligation:
Ross Edwards on 0274 402 032 or Guy Haynes on 0274 555 424.