Hoggets need a good feed

Replacement ewe hoggets will benefit from special care through late autumn and winter, whether they are in-lamb or not.
Providing sufficient high-quality feed to hoggets will help ensure an acceptable lambing-rate, if they are in-lamb. This will allow them to achieve target growth rates and help them handle any stressors that come their way, as they head into winter.
Allowing hoggets to graze to higher residuals, or to graze swards with higher pre-grazing covers than the older ewes; supplementing them if the autumn is dry; or using crop to ensure a higher plane of nutrition than pasture, are all options to provide nutritional support to growing replacements. These strategies will also reduce the number of worm larvae that hoggets ingest in autumn, when pasture contamination is usually highest.
Hoggets are more susceptible to parasites than older ewes, as their immunity is still developing. By the time you see signs such as scouring, parasites are already having a negative effect on growth rates. If reducing grazing pressure using the strategies mentioned above isn’t practical this autumn, then you can try to minimise this worm challenge by grazing them behind cattle, on paddocks recently cut for hay/silage, or on new grass paddocks.
Continuing an effective hogget drenching program is also helpful, until temperatures drop. Combination drenches, like the triple combination Alliance®, delay the selection for drench-resistant parasites, if used when all the individual actives in the drench are still working on your farm. You can determine which drench actives are effective on your farm by completing a Faecal Egg Count Reduction Test (FECRT) at least once every few years.
Forage crops present a higher clostridial disease risk than pasture, so if the hoggets will be on crop over winter, it’s a good idea to check that they have been fully vaccinated with both a sensitiser and a booster dose of a clostridial vaccine like Multine®. If you supplement vitamin B12 to growing sheep, then Multine B12® is also an option (containing 2 mg of B12 per dose).
If the hoggets are in-lamb and are fully vaccinated now, then they can then receive a single booster-dose of clostridial vaccine a few weeks before lambing, as you would for mixed-age ewes. This will provide clostridial protection to both the ewe and her lamb(s) until at least docking/tailing.
Providing a bit of extra care and attention to your hogget replacements now and through winter will support their future performance. Nutritional support, parasite management and clostridial disease prevention through vaccination are the main considerations. 
For further information, contact your Farmlands Technical Field Officer or the friendly team at your local Farmlands store.
ACVM Nos: A010249, A000934, A011311, Schering-Plough Animal Health Ltd. Phone: 0800 800 543.
www.msd-animal-health.co.nz. NZ-SAL-210100003. © 2021 Intervet International B.V. All Rights Reserved
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