The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

Cathrine Erichsen

PhD research focusing on investigating management practices and survival of triplet lambs.

Increasing lambing percentages has the potential to increase profitability on sheep farms. It increases the efficiency of the ewe as she will produce more lambs and hence greater weight of lambs weaned per year. Also, increasing lambing percentages on farm has the potential to reduce the environmental footprint of sheep farming as fewer livestock are required to produce the same amount of lamb.


My PhD is investigating management practices and survival of triplet lambs. This survey is a collaboration between Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), AgResearch, the University of Edinburgh and Teagasc. The results of the survey will contribute to an ongoing program of research focused on improving lamb survival, ewe efficiency and eco-efficiency of sheep production.


Project Update

Thank you very much for participating in and distributing the survey on triplet lamb management. Although the detailed analysis is on-going here are some key highlights from the survey so far:

NB The data refer to respondents to the survey and should not be interpreted as a summary of sheep farms in general

  • Farmers who responded to the survey were younger in New Zealand than in the UK or Ireland
  • Farms of those who replied were much larger (sheep numbers) in New Zealand than in UK, and UK farms were larger than Irish farms
  • Nearly 80% of all respondents farmed sheep and beef or sheep only
  • More than 80% of all respondents scanned their ewes for litter size in pregnancy
  • Around two thirds of UK and Irish farmers housed ewes at lambing, whereas more than 90% of New Zealand farmers did not house the ewes
  • Litter sizes for all respondents were around 180% at scanning and 150-170% at lambing
  • UK and Irish farmers were much more likely to adopt lambs off the ewe compared to New Zealand farmers
  • Lamb losses were considered by all to be the biggest cost of rearing triplets


For more information on the outcomes so far please look at the pdf