Foxes cause havoc with lambing rates

Foxes cause havoc with lambing rates


Sheep
LITTLE HELPER: Judy Paech, Lucernbrae Merino stud, Callington, and her grandson Paxton Newman, 3, look after some five-week old Merino lambs.

LITTLE HELPER: Judy Paech, Lucernbrae Merino stud, Callington, and her grandson Paxton Newman, 3, look after some five-week old Merino lambs.

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It is lambing season.

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THE drier winter conditions have made for an optimal lambing season for Judy Paech, Lucernbrae stud, Callington, but foxes and dogs have significantly impacted the stud’s lambing percentage.

With all 1600 ewes pregnancy-tested in-lamb, Mrs Paech was expecting a good season, but she said percentages were well below average.

The artificially inseminated ewes reached a 50pc lambing rate, the 346 maiden stud ewes performed the best at 99pc and the self-replacing flock reached 66pc.

Usually, the Paechs achieve about an 85pc to 90pc lambing rate for their self-replacing Merino flock.

“We would go out and pick up 20 to 30 dead lambs every day,” Mrs Paech said.

“You could see the wounds where the lambs had been grabbed around the neck.”

HOW CUTE: Paxton Newman, 3, with a Merino lamb.

HOW CUTE: Paxton Newman, 3, with a Merino lamb.

Mrs Paech believed the weather had not had much of an impact on the lambing percentages, especially because she had been supplementary feeding the flock.

During a four week period, more than 100 fox baits were distributed, with all disappearing.

All of the stud’s self-replacing Merino flock has lambed except for about 190 ewes scanned empty then re-mated and expected to drop next month.

Mrs Paech said the weather was good for lambing but was still extremely dry.

She was waiting on a decent rain, with the most significant fall measuring 13 millimetres.

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