Bolusing “works wonders” for ewe and lamb performance

Father and son – Colin and Josh McCartney – are making the right moves as they seek to streamline and expand their farm business.

The McCartney family have farmed in the heart of County Armagh for a vast number of years. Currently home to 250 mule bred ewes and 100 growing dairy beef calves, the McCartney’s have ambitions to steadily expand the flock over the next few years, while also working as sales advisors.“Around two to three years ago, we moved from tighter wool sheep to more mule bred types as we found they were better mothers that breed better lambs”, explains Josh. They don’t prioritise themselves over the lambs. The lambs get up quicker, the ewes give off more milk, and the lambs end up much better. We put them to a mix of Texel, Charolais, and Suffolk rams. The lambs go to the abattoir, and we aim to replace all our own breeding ewes”, adds Josh.

“As for lambing, we lamb in two batches – one early January and one end of March. We try and keep them out as long as we can on stubble. We bring ewes with twins in around 10 days before lambing and put them 0.4 kilo of meal, and singles in at point of lambing on 0.1-0.2 kilos of meal. They all have access to a total mixed ration. Once lambed, we aim to head them back out after two to three days”, says Josh.

Proactive bolusing

The flock have been bolused with ANIMAX Tracesure® for several years, and the McCartney’s have not looked back.

“Six weeks before lambing, all of our ewes get a ANIMAX Tracesure Sheep bolus. We started doing this around seven years ago after being prompted by Neill Acheson from ANIMAX, and having heard nothing but good reports”, explains Josh.

“We didn’t have a known trace element deficiency but saw a notable difference after we started bolusing. Ewes came off the stubble much better, and lambs were getting up and sucking straight away”.

“We now have nice greasy lambs with plenty of birthing fluids and access to plenty of good quality colostrum, giving them the best start in life”.

“Once you get used to bolus, it’s very easy and takes just a few seconds to do each ewe. We also give any slow lambers or ewes slow to rise a 50 millilitre oral dose of ANIMAX Easycal paste, which is also super easy and works wonders. Tight ewes seem to open up and contract within half an hour of receiving it”, concludes Josh.

ANIMAX Tracesure® Sheep is a pioneering trace element bolus featuring patented diffusion technology® for a controlled rate of release of enough cobalt, copper (optional), iodine, and selenium over 6 months. The technology also enables an optimal level of utilisable trace elements in a more compact bolus size that retains its same size and mass over the full supplementation period for ease of application as well as a low chance of premature regurgitation.

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