Sheep pregnancy scanners across the UK have reported variable results over the winter with some flocks in some areas carrying between 20 and 40 percent fewer lambs than last year. 

Farmers are therefore being urged to protect every newborn lamb this spring from preventable disease threats.

Sheep vet Phillipa Page from Flock Health Limited said: “It looks like lamb numbers may well be down nationally this year, but if we get a kind spring weather-wise that will certainly help producers maximise the number of lambs reared, which is what counts. However, what sheep producers simply cannot afford to do is lose more lambs to easily preventable diseases”.

Ms Page advises that farmers facing a lower lamb crop must not react to a depressed productivity challenge by skimping on essential vaccinations that will protect young lambs against diseases that can cause significant mortalities.

She said: “Clostridial diseases and pasteurellosis are both silent killers. Typically, the first sign a farmer will see is a dead lamb; sometimes losses can be catastrophic.”

“In an era when proven and highly cost-effective vaccines are available, no lamb should die from a clostridial disease.

“Lambs must be vaccinated themselves from three weeks of age.”