Fane Valley Feeds’ Guide To A Successful Lambing Season.

20th January 2021

For ewes that are lambing in March or April: During the last 6 – 8 weeks of pregnancy, ewes need to be on a rising plane of nutrition to compensate for the rapid increase in lamb growth, significant reduction in dry matter intake (DMI) and to help to prevent against metabolic disorders, such as twin lamb disease. Along with ensuring adequate energy intakes, it is vital that the ewes’ protein requirements are met in late pregnancy.

A ewe’s protein requirement doubles in the last 3 weeks of pregnancy. It is essential to know what the pre-lambing diet is actually supplying, so a nutrient analysis of the forage should be obtained. 

Many forages are testing significantly lower in protein this year so a higher protein concentrate may be required to balance the diet to ensure protein requirements are met.

It is strongly advisable to ensure a good supply of rumen bypass protein is included in the concentrate feed, as this improves milk let down in ewes, colostrum quality and therefore viability of lambs. 

Feeding rates can be adjusted depending on forage quality, body condition and number of lambs carried. Ewes in late pregnancy can consume 2 – 2.5% of their bodyweight. 

Don’t forget the basics:

Avoid very wet, poorly fermented, low D-value forage as this will be less palatable and will compromise intake.  Ensure feed is fresh and freely accessible with adequate feed space. A lowland ewe receiving concentrate feed manually will require 40cm/head of trough space. This can be reduced to 12cm if being fed with TMR. Provide constant access to clean, fresh water.

Do not feed over 0.5kg per head  concentrate in one feed and avoid any sudden changes in diet during last 3 weeks of pregnancy to prevent rumen upsets. 

The tables below provide feeding guidelines based on Poor and Good quality silage:

Fane Valley Feeds Ewe Breeder Nuts: Ewe Breeder is an energy dense feed with elevated levels of Hi Pro Soya to provide rumen bypass protein, which will help support colostrum production and milk yield throughout lactation. 

The inclusion of Safmannan has multiple benefits as well as supporting the immune system of the ewe around lambing time. Safmannan has a positive effect on ease of lambing and improves colostrum quality, resulting in more vigorous lambs with improved lifetime performance. 

High levels of Vitamin E and Selenium are included to support the ewes’ immune system, improve lamb vigour and reduce the incidence of white muscle disease. It has been shown that where ewes are supplemented with high vitamin E, lambs can be 1kg heavier at weaning.

To find out more about the complete Fane Valley Feeds sheep range please contact Matthew Armstrong on 07714 950585 or your local Fane Valley Feeds Sales Specialist.