Updated: Jul 7, 2020
Autumn lambing ewes have been scanned, grouped into their respective mobs and well into the lambing process now. The focus now is to make sure we get the most live lambs on the ground and can trouble shoot any problems before they become they damage profitability.
As ewes get closer to lambing their energy requirement significantly increases far beyond what stubble and dryland can provide in both energy and protein, then during lambing the transition onto grass can throw a huge curveball as it introduces a major change to the diet during a critical period where consistency is preferred.
A common concern producers have about feeding to lambing ewes are risks of mis-mothering or acidosis, however when done correctly it can result in more kgs of lamb and less lambing problems by meeting energy requirements. Grain feeding can be safe, effective and improve the survival rate and even post-weaning growth rates due to starting off better.
Greater lamb produced boils down to...
The ewe has enough energy to lamb and be confident she will be fed, resulting in less chance of her leaving the lamb.
A full rumen and energy needs met, green pick and grain will provide energy, but we still need gut fill
Better quality colostrum - by feeding grain the quality and quantity of colostrum is increased, meaning greater intake and passive immunity transfer.
Greater milk production to support lamb growth
Energy needs of both the lamb and ewe are met, meaning conserved body condition for the ewe.
Imprint feeding - lambs that have been shown how to find and eat grain will be faster to take to feeding at a later date if required.
Once all protein, energy and fibre needs are met of the animal, the second focus is minerals. Growing a lamb and then going through birth puts immense stress on the animal that utilises large stores of minerals. It is vital to set the ewe up to lamb and then replace lost minerals for longevity of the flock.
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