Brooke Collins, E., Blackie, N. 2021. The impacts of waterproof insulated jackets on lamb performance on a UK lowland farm. Animals 11(1), 217.
The majority of lamb losses occur within the first two weeks of life, with cold stress being a major cause of lamb morbidity and mortality. This study investigated the effect of insulating lamb jackets on newborn lambs. One hundred and four newborn lambs were randomly allocated by birth date to two treatment groups, (a) non-jacketed (n = 52) or (b) jacketed (n = 52), for fourteen days after birth. The live weights of lambs were recorded regularly up to 21 days, and average daily weight gains were calculated from these data. For the first two days after recruitment to the study, surface and body temperatures of lambs were also recorded. The jackets significantly increased the lambs’ surface temperatures, providing a warmer microclimate and reduced cold stress for jacketed lambs. There was no significant effect of the insulating jackets on estimated body temperatures, live weights or average daily weight gain of the lambs in this study. There were no detrimental effects of the jackets, and no rejection of lambs occurred.