The greatest cause for death in the first two weeks of a lambs' life is STARVATION!
Mastitis, an infection or inflammation of the mammary gland in the ewe, is a major cause of this undesirable result. There are a variety of causes of mastitis, e.g. staph, strep, mycoplasma, ovine progressive pneumonia or trauma.
Most lambs from mothers with mastitis weaken and die from starvation or become "milk thieves" in a passionate effort to survive. The little robbers then become the world's best transmitter of mastitis organisms to any of the ewes from whom they rob milk. The ewe may survive the effects of mastitis but will likely be culled prior to the next breeding season due to a bad bag.
How many lambs starve to death due to lack of milk production from either acute bacterial mastitis or hard bag? Whether it is the loss of the ewe or the lamb(s) or costly treatments, it translates into a loss in profits. Is your flock affected by this malady? To what extent? Producers are being asked to participate in a survey being conducted by Optimal Ag and Optimal Livestock Services to determine the magnitude of the economic loss to the sheep industry attributed to mastitis. The data collected will support requests for funding to conduct further research on diminishing the negative impact of mastitis on the sheep industry and develop educational materials to disseminate important information relevant to producers.
To participate in this survey, go to https://optimalag.justsurvey.me/536823607265. The link is also posted to the American Sheep Industry Association home page at www.sheepusa.org.