Following the long winter, poor growing conditions and difficulties with the bad weather there has been huge emphasis on getting pregnant and lambed ewes nutrition correct to ensure adequate supplies of energy and protein for both the ewe and lamb survivability and milk production.
Remember the rest of the flock albeit replacement ewe hoggs for gimmering, tups or cast ewes also need extra nutrition.
Hoggs for Gimmering
If gimmers are being mated at 18 months old, they must be at least 80% of their mature body weight at mating. So a mature weight of 80 kg needs to be 64kg at mating. To achieve this from weaning (at three months of age) an average growth rate of 100 grams per day is required. After a poor winter where growth targets may not have been reached. Look to supplementing your future breeding stock until grass comes, carry out faecal egg counts for worm and fluke and ensure min/vits are being offered. Remember your clostridial booster vaccinations for this stock.
Your tups are a very important element to your flock, ensuring they are fit and healthy for another years work vastly reduces your replacement rate/cost. As with the hoggs look to continue supplementing the tups, carry out faecal egg counts for worm and fluke and ensure min/vits are being offered. Remember your clostridial booster vaccinations for the tups too.
Cast ewe sales are extremely good at the moment, so marketing this class of stock should be at the forefront of the mind. We have had reports from vet centres showing high levels of barren ewes submitted for post mortem with the conclusion being malnourished. If producers still have cast ewes on farm these must be focused on and offered supplementary feeding. Before treating with wormer, flukicide, etc check the withdrawal period for slaughter.
Kirsten Williams, email@example.com
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