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Sheep bearing prevention

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Donna Hamilton

Author

06 March 2019

Bearing prevention – what can be done now? You all know there is no silver bullet. However, a couple of things to think consider at this time of year may help your outcome in Spring. The known risk factors for bearings are; ewes putting on weight between mating and scanning. If your ewes need to gain some weight, the best time is before mating – for multiple reasons: 

  1. This will improve the conception rate.
  2. It is easier to put weight on a non-pregnant animal, so she has reserves at lambing time.
  3. Holding body weight from mating to scanning will reduce the risk of bearings.
  4. More efficient use of feed. Another known risk is; shearing ewes in the first half of pregnancy. In a study carried out in Hawkes Bay and Southland in 2000/2001, shearing in the 3 months before mating or in the second half of pregnancy appeared to be protective.

Other known risk factors for bearings are;

  • Having multiple lambs inside
  • Ewes on steep paddocks pre-lamb
  • Previously having a bearing
  • Access to salt pre-lamb
  • Feeding swedes late pregnancy We are happy to look at your farming system and see what tweaks can be made to help prevent the loss of bearing ewes. Start early!
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