Count down to lambing
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.
Body Condition: ideal BC at lambing will be 2.5-3, it’s preferable for ewes to reach these condition 8 weeks before lambing and to maintain them right through to lambing.
Nutrition: Good quality grass (11-12 MjME/kgDM) is capable of suppling the majority of nutrients needed by a ewe until lambing, if you have several types of paddocks available, and then always save the best quality for close to lambing.
Minerals: An annual mineral test of your pasture will give you a good idea of mineral content in the grass, make sure the ewes cover their minerals requirements, particularly selenium and iodine, they are important in mobilising brown fat in the newborn. If brown fat reserves are low (no correctly feed ewes prelambing) or can’t be mobilising efficiently then hypothermia is a very high risk.
- 70% of foetal growth occurs in the last third of a ewe’s pregnancy. That means that ewe’s requirements for energy increase rapidly in the last 6 weeks of gestation.
- 50% of total lamb losses occur in the first 48 hours, with a further 11% occurring 2-14 days post-lambing. The reasons for this are low colostrum intake
CALOSTRUM (the fuel for life): It is the first feed for the new-born lamb and the key to survival. A newborn lamb should receive colostrum from its mother within 6-12 hours of birth. Colostrum is the first source of immunity; new-born lamb has a very permeable gut lining that can allow any ingested bacteria and toxins into the blood. They have limited energy reserves (brown fat) and new-born lambs have a large surface area to body weight ratio which makes them susceptible to heat loss.
NUTRIMIX SPECIAL PRELAMBING MOLASSES BLOCK: help to decrease incidence of bearing, improve immune system, and increase colostrum quality (more lamb survival). Price: $60/30 l plastic bin. Content organic minerals, mycotoxin binders and bypass protein. Can be customised for your farm.