The arrival of a new lamb feeder, just before the start of the main 2018 lambing season, proved to be a welcome labour-saving asset for father and son team Andrew and James Taylor from Broughton Grounds Farm near Banbury.
The Ewe2 feeder is an ad lib surplus lamb feeder from Volac that keeps pre-mixed ewe milk replacer at a constant temperature using a thermostatically controlled heating element. It then supplies lambs with warm milk via teats placed in their pen.
Andrew and James, who are tenants of the Broughton Estate, lamb 460 mules in their 200-year-old farm buildings, with a batch of 200 lambing in February and the remaining 260 lambing in April. About 170 acres of their 400 acres is part of an Agricultural Holding Tenancy put down to a six-year arable grass rotation made up of winter wheat, winter barley and stubble turnips. They also grow some spring oats under sown with a two-year clover ley, which is grazed by the early lambers. The rest of the acreage is all down to permanent pasture, which is also grazed by the Taylors’ 30 suckler cows and followers.
James says: “The farm is part of the Higher Tier Stewardship Scheme. We have pollen and nectar strips, wild bird seed plots, fallow and low input grassland. Alongside this, we also have 25 school visits a year, and a group of adults with learning disabilities that come every Wednesday to help with jobs such as feeding the sheep, pigs and calves, and collecting eggs from our 200 laying hens.
“Last year we had 26 ewes scan for triplets. We are part of our local vets’ flock health club and we take part in benchmarking and usually aim for a true lambing percentage of 160%. We try to wet foster if possible but will leave all three triplets on the ewe for 48 hours and then remove one for artificial rearing if wet fostering isn’t an option.
“Having a surplus lamb feeder has made a big difference; the lambs are more content and perform well. It was really easy to set up and you just have to spend a bit of time getting the lambs sucking properly. It certainly makes things a whole lot easier.
“We sell the lambs fat through Stratford Market, although we do keep a few each year to sell direct and through a local butcher,” James adds.
The Volac Ewe2 Feeder is a bucket system, which keeps pre-mixed milk at a constant temperature, with two teats capable of feeding up to 20 lambs.
For more advice and tips and to help get you through the lambing season, explore our handy lambing advice. Alternatively you can download the Volac Ewe2 Feeder product brochure.