Feeding The Pregnant Ewe
9th January 2020

Pictured: Laura Kennedy, Fane Valley Feeds - Ruminant Nutritionist

As Springtime is fast approaching, it is time to start thinking about your flock and the importance of adequate nutrition for the pregnant ewe. Around 75% of fetal lamb growth occurs in the 6-8 weeks pre-lambing so it is vital to ensure ewes have a diet which meets their requirements during late pregnancy. Body condition score (BCS) should be monitored during pregnancy to ensure ewes are not losing condition. Once scanning has been completed, ewes should be batched and fed accordingly to the number of lambs they are carrying to maximise performance and feed efficiency. 

Alongside BCS and litter size, forage quality also influences the type and amount of concentrates which are required. It is vital that silage is sampled and tested for key nutrients to ensure a concentrate can be chosen which complements the silage and meets the ewe’s requirements for both energy and protein. Pre-lambing nutrition affects a wide range of factors including colostrum production, ewe maternal ability and lamb birth weight and vigour, all of which influences lamb survival rates and profitability.

During late pregnancy, the dry matter intake of a ewe is around 2.0-2.5% of their bodyweight, and feed intake reduces by 30% during the last 6 weeks due to a reduction in rumen capacity. This results in an increased energy requirement which can only be meet by concentrate. This can be greatly reduced if good quality silage is available with high energy and protein levels.

The Fane Valley Feeds Ewe range has been specifically designed to balance a wide range of silages and meet the ewe’s increasing demands pre-lambing. Ewe Breeder Nuts contain high quality protein in the form of Hi-Pro Soya which maximizes colostrum quality and quantity to support the new-born lambs. The inclusion of Maize and Barley provides high energy levels to meet the ewe’s increasing demand around lambing. A high quality mineral and vitamin package is also included in all ewe feeds, which is designed to support the requirements of both the ewe and lamb with the added benefit provided by Safmannan. 

Safmannan is a yeast product which has been proven to increase the immunoglobulin content of colostrum to increase the lamb’s immunity when they are most susceptible to disease after birth, as well as improved lambing ease due to increased fluids during birth. 

If you would like to discuss the nutrition of your pre-lambing ewes or find out more information on the Fane Valley Feeds Ewe Range including Safmannan, please contact Laura Kennedy on 07976 723099  or your local Fane Valley Feeds Sales Specialist.

Table 1. Guideline concentrate feed rates for pre-lambing ewes depending on silage quality.