To improve conception rates at joining, increase the lambing percentage and to maximise breeding profitability, it is important to carefully manage each factor contributing to the health and nutrition of your ewes. Simply put, ewes in a good condition prior to lambing will generally conceive and rear more lambs. Producers should aim to have ewes in a condition score of 3 at joining and maintain this until lambing.
A ewe’s nutritional requirements will change dramatically prior to, during, and after lambing. Here are some key points to remember:
- The ewes energy requirements increase slowly during early pregnancy and increase rapidly in the last 50 days prior to lambing.
- Ewes in late pregnancy have a high requirement for protein and their diet should contain more than 15% crude protein.
- Lactation dramatically increases energy requirements and peaks approximately 25 days after lambing.
- In addition to protein and energy, balanced macro and trace minerals are essential to meet nutritional requirements for optimum growth and reproduction.
Pre/Post lambing nutrition
- A good plane of nutrition during pre and post lambing will assist to provide a good start to life, with strong, healthy lambs that are more easily delivered.
- Ewes in poor nutritional condition are more susceptible to pregnancy toxaemia, and may have smaller birthweight lambs that are weaker to the point where survival level drops.
How to identify the signs of good body condition score in ewes
How to ensure your ewes are in optimal condition
- In most cases, supplementary feeding will be required in the form of energy-dense fodder such as cereal grain or lupins, especially in the last 6 weeks of gestation. The energy-dense feed helps to overcome energy deficiency resulting from lowered feed intake during the final trimester.
- Provide macro and trace minerals to meet the increased nutritional requirements during pregnancy and lactation.
- Feeding supplements that include Bovatec® (lasalocid) promotes beneficial rumen bacteria for better rumen function, helping to improve feed conversion efficiency and improve daily weight gain.
How AgSolutions can help
AgSolutions have developed the MegaMin Pre/Post Lambing range to assist to meet increased nutritional requirements for ewes prior to joining and lambing. MegaMin Pre/Post Lambing can be fed ad-lib or when additional energy and protein is required, can be mixed with grain, pellets or protein meals. Formulated with extra calcium and magnesium, the MegaMin Pre/Post lambing range can assist the prevention of metabolic disease in ewes late in pregnancy and early lactation.