Increasing flock potential through pre and post lambing nutrition

Research has indicated that pre and post lambing nutrition not only decreases ewe mortality during lambing, it also increase lamb survival and their ability to produce wool in the future.  The role of nutrition in sheep reproduction is through controlling the ewe’s condition score (CS).  It is recommended that sheep be no less than CS 2.5 or greater than CS 4, this leads to a flock average CS of 3.0.

To meet the recommended CS single bearing ewes require a minimum of 9.5 Mega Joules (MJ) of Metabolisable Energy (ME) per kilogram of Dry Matter (DM) and 14% Protein in the month prior to lambing.  It is important to meet these requirements as this is a pivotal time when the lamb does majority of its growing prior to being born. Failure to meet the ewe’s nutrient requirements and CS can result in lambs with lower birth weights. The pre lambing stage is also critical as poor nutrition and condition exposes the ewe to an increased chance of pregnancy Toxaemia, which is often fatal for both ewe and lamb.

Once lambed the ewe’s reliance on nutrition increases.  To maintain her CS and supply the lamb with quality milk, a diet of a minimum 11 MJ ME/Kg DM and 15% Protein is needed.  By meeting these requirements and managing ewes’ CS through this time of physiological stress will decrease the rate of supplementary feeding needed to achieve reproductive success in the subsequent joining.  Farmers can also see lambs that wean at higher live weights that produce more wool of better quality due to increases in wool follicles laid down in utero, a trait that lasts its lifetime.

To understand more about feeding Ewes and Lambs, contact your CopRice nutritionist on Freecall 1800 267 742.