Article Text

An investigation into dystocia in a south country Cheviot flock
  1. A Whitelaw and
  2. P Watchorn


An abnormally high incidence of dystocia was encountered in the south country Cheviot flock at the Hill Farming Research Organisation's research station at Sourhope, Yetholm, Roxburghshire over the past four years, 1970 to 1973. Lambing records were only available for 1972 and 1973 for Sourhope ewes and gimmers of all breeds and showed the following: (see article) This meant that in terms of attention and vigilance, a high shepherding input was necessary with the South Country Cheviot flock. Intensive observation and measurements of some relevant parameters were therefore made in the gimmer age group of this flock, numbering 126, during the lambing season of 1974; 39-7 per cent required assitance. This paper describes the behavioural pattern in lambing and demonstrates differences between those animals which were assisted and those which were not. The features of the dystocias and their possible cause are discussed.

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