Managing your ewes correctly in the last 8 weeks prior to lambing is one of the most critical stages in the sheep calendar. If things go wrong at this stage then lamb birth weight could be low, lamb losses high, colostrum supplies and quality poor and that’s mean lamb growth below target.
Articles in Category: Sheep Tech
On average 20% of lambs born will die, with 90% of deaths occurring during or within seven days of birth. This represents a large income loss for producers, and may be perceived as a welfare issue. The major cause of death for lambs varies between properties and seasons, but starvation, mismothering, exposure and difficult births are generally the largest causes.
START 2 months before tupping
Ewe nutrients requirements increase significantly in the 4-6 weeks before lambing. This is to support the rapidly growing fetus and encourage proper udder development for colostrum and milk production. 70% of lamb fetal growth occurs in the last 6 weeks, during which time rumen capacity and food intake are decreasing. If nutrient demands of the ewe are not met, not only can pregnancy toxemia/ twin lamb disease occur but also lamb growth and survival will be compromised.
- Good ewe Body Condition Score during mating means good ovulation rate and high lambing percentage.
- Increasing live weight during the mating period will help to improve lambing percentage.
- Minimise stress during mating - early pregnancy to avoid upsetting oestrus and embryo death.
BRASSICAS – NUTRITIONAL FACTS
Introduce crop gradually to diet, the animals need around 2 weeks to be fully adapted. Feed extra fibre (where brassicas make up the majority of daily intake), a source of effective fibre (e.g. hay, straw, silage) should be offered. Plenty of clean water has to be available to ensure DM intakes do not drop.