Lambs thriving as expected
THE growing number of healthy lambs in the fields of North Devon is confirming predictions about the effect of Schmallenberg virus in the area.
Vets and scientists had predicted deformed lambs would appear among early lambing flocks around Christmas time but later births might be undamaged.
And so it seems to be, according to reports.
Brian and Liz Griffiths, of Burrington, lamb 700 ewes and are happy with their first arrivals.
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"We've had no evidence as yet," said Liz on Saturday.
"We've done around 120 OK and now we wait a fortnight for the main flock."
The disease is transmitted by midges and damages pregnant ewes at a particular point in their gestation.
It was predicted that pregnant ewes bitten in July last year would suffer but those tupped in the autumn would not.
However, it is unclear what long term damage has been done from the virus, which was only discovered in 2011.
There are fears that cows in suckler cattle herds bitten during last summer might give birth to deformed calves in coming weeks.
Theirs is a nine month gestation compared to five months for sheep.