The management of pregnant ewes in the last six weeks of gestation has a very distinct effect on birth weights, growth and survivability of the lamb.

The management of pregnant ewes in the last six weeks of gestation has a very distinct effect on birth weights, growth and survivability of the lamb.

Each farming and management system is different but adhering to the main protocols during this vital time in the year will pay dividends in months to come aiming to reduce costs and improve returns.

Six weeks pre-lambing is a good time to condition score the ewes. A score between 2 and 3 is the target. Any 1’s or 2’s will need extra feed before lambing whereas any 5’s will be difficult to manage as they are too fat and putting them on a reduced diet will increase the chances of a difficult lambing (dystocia). Some shepherds recommend exercise as the only treatment as reducing feed at this critical time as a reduction in energy fed can lead to pregnancy toxaemia (ketosis).

It is in the last six weeks that the foetus grows the most and the ewe is setting herself up for milk production. Any ewe lambs will still be growing during this time as well. With these demands extra nutrition should be available. This can be in the form of a protein lick, self-regulating liquid feed or a blend/concentrate.

Ewes that have previously been scanned will more than likely be separated into different management groups. The appropriate feed regime can therefore be targeted at each group.

Single bearing ewes in good condition can be taken through to lambing on a protein lick  typically Stokblok Sheep Plus followed by Stokblok Easi Lamber 4 weeks before lambing or Easi Sheep 18 or 22 liquid (depending on the size of the ewes) on a ball feeder free access system.

An alternative is Tub Easi-Life. This is a 14% natural protein block containing a full range of mineral, trace elements and vitamins along with Live-Yeast-Ex, to improve rumen function for better forage digestion. The selenium and vitamin E are included at high levels to looking to promote a healthy, lively lamb at birth that gets up and suckles quickly. Containing Omega 3 fish oils this allnatural protein tub should be fed to inlamb ewes in mid and late pregnancy.

Twin or triple bearing ewes should, along with the feeds mentioned above, receive a blend/concentrate at reduced levels when compared with ewes receiving any supplementary feed.

Alternatively, if the shepherd wants to feed a blend concentrate the Group would recommend that the ewes have access to Tub PPL. Specifically formulated for the period pre and post lambing the tub should be on offer 6 weeks prior and 4 weeks post lambing for maximum effect. The tub will assist rapid milk drop at lambing and the balance of magnesium and calcium will aid muscle tone to assist at lambing. The high vitamin E and selenium levels will promote lively lambs, which get up and suckle quickly.

If coccidiosis has been or is known to be a problem the ewes should be treated with a coccidiostat to clear the gut of oocytes before they are housed or moved to the lambing pasture. It is for this reason that the pre lambing Coxi-Clear Ewe tub has been produced. With all the benefits of Tub PPL this tub will also act to rid the ewes of the infective oocytes that will infect the newborn lambs as soon as they arrive.

Offer:

From now until the end of the year the Denis Brinicombe Group have an offer on both Tub Easi-Life and Tub PPL. On all orders delivered before the 31st December 2008 one additional tub will be delivered free for every ten ordered. Additionally, all those customers taking up the offer will have the guarantee of a price cap on all further orders up to the 1st April 2009  prices cannot rise but they can reduce if the list price reduces.