Winter Feeding: Critical to lambing returns
Ewe body condition impacts directly on a good lambing season. Whilst this has already been addressed during tupping it is also important for the ewe to maintain body condition throughout mid pregnancy to ensure the production of strong and healthy lambs in the spring.
Once pregnancy is established after the critical first 35 days of pregnancy, the foetuses will appear relatively safe and undemanding until the final six weeks. Although very little growth will occur during this ‘mid-pregnancy’ period, the foetal membranes, including the placenta which is essential for providing oxygen and essential nutrients to the growing lambs, will do most of their growing meaning that if nutrition is compromised then placental size can be reduced.
Inadequate nutrition in early/mid-pregnancy cannot be compensated for later on in pregnancy and can result in the production of smaller and weaker lambs with higher mortality.
Unfortunately, poor nutrition at this point, and its effects on ewe body condition and placental growth, cannot be compensated for later on in pregnancy having been shown to result in the production of smaller and weaker lambs with higher mortality. Additionally, the surviving smaller and weaker lambs will require additional feed inputs in order to achieve target weights and markets which are key to maximising profitability from each lamb crop.
Feeding in-lamb ewes to maintain or gain condition this winter in order to meet target lambing body condition scores (BCS) of 3.5 and 2.5, for lowland and hill ewes respectively, will not only impact directly on the success of lambing itself, but new research has shown it will also support the reproductive potential of female lambs that are to be kept as future breeding stock.
SUPPORT THE EWE TO SAFEGUARD FUTURE FLOCK
Rumenco’s Rumevite Hill Grazer offers ideal nutritional support
for in-lamb ewes throughout mid-pregnancy where extra energy is required to help support body condition. Rumevite Hill Grazer feed blocks will help provide the additional necessary protein to support maintenance of body condition and placental growth for the production of strong and healthy lambs. This free access supplement provides a mixture of natural and urea protein to help increase protein supply to in lamb ewes whilst supporting the digestion and intakes of poorer quality forages and grazing. In addition Rumevite Hill Grazer also contains Diamond V XPC, to support rumen function and forage utilisation.
Alternatively, Rumenco’s PROMAXX low moisture lick will help provide the additional necessary protein to support maintenance and placental growth for the production of strong and healthy lambs with better growth performance. Free-access supplements provide a mixture of natural protein and urea to help increase protein supply to in-lamb ewes whilst also supporting the digestion and intakes of poorer quality forages.
As tupping is completed and ewes are safely in lamb then the focus should not just be on pre-lambing, but also winter feeding of ewes to support them through the equally important mid-pregnancy period. Ensuring adequate supplies of energy and protein, plus minerals and vitamins, is crucial to ensure ewe body condition is on target to achieve better returns from the production of strong and healthy lambs