Pre-Lambing nutrition normally refers to the final 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. However it’s important to understand that the last trimester of pregnancy results in a huge nutritional demand increase on the ewe. Typically 70% of foetal growth occurs in last six weeks of pregnancy, rumen capacity becomes limiting and intake falls. It’s essential to compensate for this reduced intake and align concentrate requirement with forage intake and quality. Body condition scoring coupled with scanning results should be used to batch ewes accordingly. Typically these groups will be triplets, twins and singles; with option of allowing an under conditioned ewe into the next group in the chain
Maximise Supplementation Performance
Energy & Protein
- Energy – This is the most important nutrient in the ewe’s diet. Requirements range from 8MJ/day for maintenance to in excess of 30MJ/day in early lactation for a lowland ewe with twins. Typically energy is provided by a combination of sugars, starch and digestible fibres. Alternative energy sources such as Glucolac and Maxfat can also enhance performance.
- Protein – Protein nutrition of the ewe pre lambing is critical. Normally we consider two types of protein in a ewe diet; Rumen degradable (RDP) and Digestible Undegradable sources (DUP). RDP can normally provide most of their requirement but in last three weeks pre lambing DUP is essential to stimulate colostrum and milk production. Sopralin is a key DUP source, Lactamine is also a key DUP source combined with fish oil to mirror and exceed fishmeal performance.
Forage / Roughage Sources
- Forage or Roughage sources – All forages used for in-lamb ewe should be of highest quality available. A forage analysis will help match diet formulation and feed-rates to your flocks’ requirements. Never use waste silage or damaged bales, and always ensure a clean presentation to reduce the risk of listeria and mycotoxin contamination.
- Root crops – Crops such as kale, rape and fodder beet are useful high energy sheep feeds. It’s important to supplement these forage sources with a specific Mineral supplement. Additional protein supplementation will also be necessary depending on the crop.
Mineral & Vitamin supplementation
Sheep require a comprehensive range of trace elements, minerals and Vitamins in their daily diet to remain healthy and optimise production.
- VITAMIN E – is important for immunity and health. It stimulates improved lamb vigour at birth and subsequent growth to weaning. Supplementation is crucial as levels in conserved forages are generally low.
- AO Mix – The latest research and development in antioxidants means ewe health and immunity can be further enhanced by inclusion of this highly bioavailable and natural alternative.
- Selenium – Boosts ewe immunity and health. It also aids lamb vigour by helping mobilise brown fat at birth and reducing risk of hypothermia.
- Cobalt – An important constituent of vitamin B12. Helps lambs to stand and suckle earlier.
- Iodine – Very important for foetal development and control of ewes’ metabolic rate. Excess iodine can inhibit the ability of the lamb to gain immunity from colostrum.
- Zinc – Helps limits mastitis and ensure hoof health is maximal
- For trough feeding concentrates allow 45 cm/ewe
- For TMR or ad-lib allow 15cm/ewe
- Dependant on dry matter of diet
- Range from 2.5 litres per ewe/day when dry to 8 litre per/day in early lactation