top of page

Pre-Lambing Nutrition...

Nutrition for both ewes and lambs work hand in hand with stock management and ensuring health and performance issues are minimised. Pre-lambing care does not only allow for the prosperity of the ewe after lambing but also the development of the lambs she is carrying.

In late-pregnancy incorrect feeding can result in a range of metabolic issues. Increasing chance of fatality or a decrease in productivity in the future (including fertility and colostrum quality). If the ewe is unable to support its own nutritional needs this will follow through to the lamb's, increasing risks pre-lambing and post-lambing as common health issues arise.

Dry Matter Intake

Forages should be tested and fed to optimise dry matter intake and energy for each individual flock. These figures are determined by average body weight and the number of lambs carried.

Dry matter intake during pregnancy for each individual ewe is 2-2.5% of its liveweight

The range is dependent on the digestibility and quality of the forage

Dry matter obtained during lactation for each individual ewe is 3.5% of its liveweight

Forage intakes should be optimised first and concentrates should only be fed as required to supplement energy and protein to meet requirements.

To reduce a risk of prolapse it is suggested to scatter feed if the area is clean and dry.

Energy Requirement

MJ energy required for maintenance = (Ewe Liveweight x 0.1) + 3

For each lamb carried in one pregnancy add 4MJ to the maintenance requirement.

(For a single lamb add 4MJ for twin lambs add 8MJ for triplets add 12MJ and so on)

Work back feeding levels from this to build up over 6-8 weeks if requirement high or 3-4 weeks if only small quantities needed.

The below calculation depend on the liveweight of your ewes. The below is an example


(Liveweight x 0.1) + 3

(70 x 0.1) + 3

10MJ / day

Gestation (Last Week)

+4MJ per lamb carried

10MJ + 8MJ (Twins)

18MJ / day

To ensure nutrient requirements are met close to lambing, concentrates can be supplemented into the diet, either mixed in with silage or scatter fed.

The nutrient requirements scarcely alter for an ewe in the early stages of pregnancy. Foetus is small but this is when the placenta grows to its optimum and is responsible for various critical attributes of the lamb such as birth weight, growth rate and a decrease in fatality risk is observed.

Later into the pregnancy is when lamb development rapidly increases meaning a higher demand on the ewe’s body as preparation for milk production begins alongside this.

Nutrient intake can be ensured by planning and carrying out husbandry tasks accordingly.

  • A structured plan to prevent high levels of stress at critical stages of pregnancy when energy is required the most

  • Limit drastic changes to feed quantity and timing of when they receive feed

  • Ensure easy access to feed, especially forage

  • Prevent stress and overheating

Ewe Compounds Available

Soya Max - A fully mineralised very high energy and quality protein, including 15% soya to allow lower levels of supplement. Complimenting forage whilst driving colostrum quality and production. Including Safmannan to support gut health and Availa minerals to support colostrum and foot health.

Healthy Sheep - A fully mineralised high energy, quality protein sources but not soya, still allowing lower levels of supplementation. Allowing target forage intakes, supporting milk and colostrum production. Including Safmannan to support gut health and Availa minerals to support colostrum and foot health.

Ewenique - Fully mineralised with good energy levels. Wheat based to drive rumen function and support forage digestion. Availa minerals to support colostrum and foot health.

Prime Ewe - Reasonable energy compound aimed at fell ewes with a single lamb. (pre-lambing) Can also be used further from lambing if support needed before moving onto higher energy and quality protein concentrate closer to lambing.

All Seasons - Supplement when forage or if grazing is limited and can be used as a replacement of sugar beet pulp.

If ewes are fed correctly this will hopefully result in healthy offspring's. Good nutrition supports colostrum and milk production; this is essential as lambs will be feeding off the milk until weaned.

For more information please contact your DN Sales Specialist or call us on 01200 420200.

43 views0 comments


bottom of page