Mating season is well under way or for many earlier lambing flocks is now complete. Much hard work, care and attention will have gone into ram selection and ewe management to ensure optimal ewe condition for a successful mating.
Although ewe nutritional requirements will not increase in the first month of pregnancy it is important to maintain a level plane of nutrition and avoid abrupt changes in diet. Where possible minimise handling and stress for 3-4 weeks post tupping to reduce risk of embryo loss.
Once tupping is complete it may seem like a time to relax and take a step back until closer to lambing. Previous research and information has suggested mid pregnancy ewes have lower maintenance requirements and can afford to lose some condition. However, more recent studies relating to ewe management post tupping has suggested that ewe condition especially changes in body condition during all stages of pregnancy can impact lamb survival, scanning rate, birth weight and lamb growth.
There are many factors affecting ewe condition during pregnancy. This includes litter size, nutrition, animal health, parasites, climate, and management. Some may be more difficult to control than others but most can be addressed through forward planning to maximise lamb survival.
To raise awareness of some of the practical steps that farmers can take CAFRE is holding an event to highlight some of the main areas of concern, discuss options and demonstrate practical solutions. This will include:
- Assessing ewe body condition which is vital to establish if the ewe is on target for the system and time of year. This will include a practical body condition scoring demonstration.
- Ewe feeding options throughout pregnancy for both housed and outdoor management systems. This will include efficient utilisation of grass and conserved forages and use of additional concentrates where appropriate to meet the nutritional needs of the ewe.
- Key areas relating to best management of housed ewes in particular, flooring systems, ewe feed and floor space requirements, feeding systems and lambing facilities.
- Animal health during pregnancy such as parasite control and vaccinations, best practice pre-lambing and management of the new born lamb.
The event will be held on Tuesday 10 December 2019 at CAFRE’s Hill Farm Development Centre, Glenwherry. There will be two sessions:
Afternoon Session taking place from 2 – 4pm;
Evening Session taking place from 7 – 9pm.
Please aim to attend as close to the start times of the sessions as possible.
If you require more information in relation to this event, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office or tel: 028 9052 4619.