Lamb / kid Woolover Coats
Developed by New Zealand sheep farmer Mr David Brown in the early 1990s Woolover all-wool lamb covers have saved hundreds of thousands of lambs around the world. Woolovers are now manufactured in Australia.
For management reasons lambing is most often carried out at a time of the year subject to adverse conditions putting survival of many lambs at risk. There is no doubt that fitting a Woolover cover as soon as possible after birth can turn losses into profits. Lamb mortality can be dramatically reduced. Not only are survival rates increased but trials have proven lambs in Woolover covers gain 2/3 of a kg more weight in their first three weeks compared to uncovered lambs. The reduced feed demand on the ewe ensures she does better too.
Woolover covers should be applied to all lambs under 4 days old when a storm is imminent. Covers can reduce losses from 60% or more to almost none within this group. It is recommended that covers are left in place for up to 3 weeks (remove at docking time) to get maximum benefit but if there is substantial improvement in the weather covers can be removed and re-used for greatest economy.
Woolover covers can be applied in about 30 seconds. The tail end is rolled forward and the lamb's front legs and then head are inserted through the front holes (just like putting on a jersey). The tail end is then unrolled and the rear legs pulled through the holes. Care should then be taken to pull the cover up all the legs so it is snug against the lamb's body. Survival is then assured in even very bad weather conditions. Woolover covers can be washed and re-used if removed after 3-4 days. Covers should not be left on lambs for longer than 3 weeks except for exceptionally small lambs.
The coats can also be used for goat kids: for larger animals the leg holes may need to be cut larger and many breeders cut off the back leg section so that the mothers can still smell the back of their kids. It also helps to rinse the cover first in water to try and remove some of the "lamb" smell and even rub the coat against the doe's coat before putting on the kid.