Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Clip, Dip, and Strip: It's Winter Lambing Season!

5:00 A.M. came quickly this morning for our farm when our sheep where having lambs. I thought it was only appropriate to post this article regarding lamb season written by Mike Fournier, County Extension Director in Bucks County, PA

February is winter lambing season. Lamb mortality is highest in the first few weeks of life with starvation and hypothermia the leading causes of loss. To see that your lambs get off to a good start, be sure you incorporate “clip, dip, and strip” in the lambing jug
Clip refers to trimming the umbilical cord.  When a lamb is born, it will have an umbilical cord of varying length still attached to the belly, and it’s an open highway for bacteria.  Also, if the umbilical cord is too long, the lamb could step on it, causing severe bleeding.  Use sterile scissors to clip the cord to a length of 1-2”. Another way of "clipping" the umbilical cord is to tie it up using dental floss.

Once the cord is clipped, treat the navel area with iodine to prevent infection.  This is where the dip comes in.  Keep a wide-mouth baby food jar filled with iodine near the lambing pens.  Hold the lamb belly side down, place the jar over the clipped cord and against the lamb’s body.  Then raise the lamb with the jar held firmly against its belly so that the whole navel area is treated with iodine.

Finally, the strip.  Put the ewe on her rump and make sure you can get a stream of milk from each teat.  A wax plug forms in the end of the teat during pregnancy, and it’s important to get the plug out and see that the ewe has milk.  If the udder is hard or inflamed, she may have mastitis and you might have a bottle baby on your hands – good luck.

Get your lambs off to a good start by using clip, dip, and strip in the lambing jug.

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