Spring has certainly sprung around the district and lots of farmers have been out lamb marking. There are three key points to consider when lamb marking:
• Hygiene is extremely important
• Dock tails to the third palpable joint
• Vaccinate against common diseases
Lambs should be marked between 2-12 weeks of age which can be difficult to achieve in a mob that has an extended lambing period.
Lambs that are marked less than 24 hours old have not had long enough to mother up properly and lambs that are older than 6 months require anaesthetic for mulesing and castration to be carried out.
Tail docking length is extremely important and often much debated amongst producers. Docking the tail too short can result in future problems. A sheep uses its tail to deflect faeces, and in ewes urine away from its body which it can only do if the tail is left long enough. If the sheep is unable to do this, then the risk of flystrike to that sheep is increased significantly.
Lambs should be vaccinated with at least a 3 in 1 or 6 in 1 vaccine. Lambs need to be protected against common problems including pulpy kidney (enterotoxaemia), cheesy gland and tetanus which 3 in 1 will cover. The marking vaccination will only give protection for 4-6 weeks so a second injection is needed; weaning is a good time for this second vaccination.