Across the practice there is great variation in when lambing starts; however, no matter when, docking is a key event.
If you have vaccinated your ewes two to four weeks pre-lamb with a 5-in-1 booster, there is normally no reason to vaccinate your lambs at docking/tailing, you can wait until weaning. However, if you have high percentage of multiples or your pre-lamb booster was outside the two to four week timeframe, then give the lambs a 5-in-1 shot at docking. With the price of lambs being so high it is cheap insurance.
If you have vaccinated the ewes with Nilvax® pre-lamb, the ewe will provide protection via the colostrum for up to 16 weeks which will protect lambs through to weaning. This is one of the benefits of using Nilvax®.
If the ewes were not vaccinated pre-lamb then vaccinating the lambs at docking with Lamb Vaccine will be the most effective option. If you don’t like the cost of this, then vaccinate the lambs with a 5-in-1 with the knowledge that the level of protection will be variable.
If you do vaccinate the lambs at this age with 5-in-1, revaccinating them four to six weeks later is essential.
Scabby Mouth can be a scourge on many farms; if this disease is present then you will need to vaccinate with Phenax® or Scabigard®. This involves scraping the skin in the inner thigh with the applicator to form an “X”. The skin scraping should not draw blood as this will wash the vaccine out. As will fly dip if you apply it onto the scratch site.
With Scabby Mouth vaccination always check the vaccine take in a sample of lambs around five to eight days later. If vaccination has been successful, the scratch will have raised whitish lesions. If you are not seeing these lesions, then please talk with us.
Phenax®/Scabigard®, 5-in-1 and Lamb Vaccine products are all temperature sensitive – keep the packs/vials in chilly bins until used and replace vaccination needles regularly when vaccinating under the skin. The Phenax®/Scabigard® applicator has its own scratching “needle”.
Other essentials at docking include preventative fly control and, on some farms, selenium and vitamin B12 supplementation.
Long-term fly control will be achieved by using products such as StrikeForce S (meat WHP 14 days) and CLiK® (meat WHP 35 days) or for shorter protection CLiKZiN® (meat WHP 7 days) and the cyromazine products such as Cyroshield (meat WHP 21 days) and CyrazinTM (meat WHP 14 days).
On some farms selenium and/or B12 may be required to maximise lamb growth. Smartshot® will provide long term selenium plus vitamin B12 for replacement ewe lambs or stud ram lambs, or if you are wanting shorter term supplementation, inject with Vijec B12 + Selenium.
For further advice on your docking plan or any of the products mentioned call us at your clinic or chat to your veterinarian.