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By Emma Mills, Ruminant Nutritionist at Ridley

Some recommended strategies to support winter gestation, lambing and post lambing condition of breeding ewes:

• Create an annual plan, set body condition score targets prior to joining and continually assess throughout early, mid & late pregnancy, and into lambing. These targets will depend on the location, season, rainfall, breed types and number of foetuses a ewe is carrying.

• Monitor health of ewes including internal and external parasite burdens.

• Assess husbandry- shelter, walking distances, flock size.

• Assessment of feed on offer (kg dry matter/hectare) throughout this entire period, addressing any feed gaps early in the season, as pasture is often short in supply and declining prior to the new season break.

• Set a plan to manage single and twin/triplet bearing ewes separately in late gestation, during lambing and into lactation. To avoid overweight single bearing ewes and underweight ewes with multiple lambs.

• Supplementing the increasing nutritional demands of pregnant and lambing ewes with a specifically designed, balanced feed such as the Rumevite® Ewe Supplement, in conjunction with unlimited pasture or hay may assist ewes in during this time.

• It is often difficult for ewes bearing multiple foetuses to fulfil their requirements in late gestation and during lambing due to their rapidly increasing energy demand, and the size of growing foetuses. Reduced appetite and rumen space in late gestation often limits the amount of forage that can be fed. Supplementing with a grain based ration is an ideal option due to the concentrated nutrient density and balanced supply of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.

• Supplementation throughout lactation can improve milk production and therefore lamb growth, especially in ewes that are supporting multiple lambs and/or the paddock feed on offer is not fulfilling their nutritional requirements.

• Lambs older than 4 weeks, can be fed the Rumevite® Lamb Supplement pre and/or post weaning to achieve positive weight gains and supplement pastures. This specifically formulated product provides energy, good quality protein and balanced vitamins and minerals to support growth, rumen development and optimize lamb development.

Recommended Rumevite feeds to support successful lambing:

Rumevite® Ewe Supplement is a palatable, pelletised, grain based ration which contains suitable levels of protein (including bypass protein) and energy for ewes, including ewes with lambs at foot. It contains balanced levels of calcium, phosphorous, trace minerals and vitamins.

Rumevite® Lamb Pellet is a palatable, pelletised, grain based ration for finishing lambs or supplementing early weaned lambs from 4 weeks of age. Contains high levels of bypass protein, no urea, and balanced levels of calcium, phosphorus, trace minerals and vitamins. Contains an acidifying agent to reduce the risk of urinary calculi (water belly). Pelletised diets are an excellent option for young lambs, this is due to reduced sorting and wastage.

Forward planning and constant assessment of ewe body condition and pasture availability throughout the year is key in managing ewe flocks and improving lamb survival and growth.

For more information, or to speak to one of our ruminant nutritionists, call 1300 666 657