It’s coming towards that time of year….. lambing time! The 6 weeks pre-lambing are crucial as 70% of the lamb’s growth is in this period; causing ewe requirements to double but having reduced appetite from being heavily pregnant. Getting pre-lambing nutrition right is essential for a good lambing season. Pete talks us through.
Problems if nutrition goes wrong?
Ewes should be split according to their singles, twins etc. A range of problems can occur if nutrition at lambing goes wrong; below is a brief summary of problems that can occur:
- Low lamb birth weight & poor survival
- Reduced udder development
- Reduced colostrum production
- Pregnancy toxaemia
- Reduced lamb growth rate
- Oversized lamb and lambing problems
- Weakened ewe/lamb bond
- Delayed onset of lactation
- Pregnancy toxaemia
- Reduced lamb vigour
Have your ewes got enough space?
Having enough space is essential for ewes to have adequate space to eat and then lie down to ensure ewes can maximise their intakes. No matter how good the diet is; without adequate space they will not be able to eat it!
Know your silage
Knowing the quality of your silage is essential for formulating your ration and if its better than you thought, you may need to feed less concentrate than you thought! Therefore, from here a ration can be formulated using this information and other feeds such as concentrates.
Are your ewes receiving the right amount?
In the last 4 weeks of lambing, despite all the right calculations, working out where the ewes are with their requirements is very useful for avoiding problems at lambing. Blood sampling ewes for urea and ketone levels, allows us to assess whether the ewe protein and energy levels are being met. Blood sampling up to 5 from each group from a range of body condition scores is the best way to assess this across the flock.
Key pre-lambing nutrition points:
In conclusion, if more than 500g/ ewe of concentrate is required, this should be split over more than one feed.
Additionally, ewes need at least 5 Litres of water each per day in late pregnancy. Ensure you have plenty of water trough space!
Call us to arrange for blood sampling.