With lambing season underway across most of the country, the focus should be on getting ewes in the right body condition, ideally aiming for BCS of between 2.5 to 3 from mid-pregnancy onwards.
Ewes in the correct BCS at lambing will benefit from greater survival rates for their lambs and will encourage them to wean heavier. Getting nutrition, in particular, protein and energy levels right during the last few weeks before lambing can also reduce the risk of twin lamb disease.
Higher producing ewes, for example, those carrying twins or triplets, will also need a source of digestible undegradable protein (DUP), both during the latter stages of pregnancy and during lactation.
“With the lamb dependent on milk for its nutrients, getting the correct fatty acids and protein in the ewe diet at peak lactation will be crucial to meet energy requirements, avoiding reduced milk yields and potentially affecting lamb growth rates,” explained Nigel Bateson, national sales manager at nutritional supplement manufacturer UFAC-UK.
Lactation places the highest nutrient demands on the ewe, it is crucial that they are fed to their full energy requirements for up to four weeks after lambing.
Trials using Promega, a high energy feed supplement formulated with essential Omega-3 fatty acids and DUP, have demonstrated increased milk yield and improved milk protein well into lactation.
The Omega-3 long-chain fatty acids EPA and DHA from fish oils also help boost the immune system in both ewes and their lambs, giving them greater disease resistance, thus sparing energy for increased productivity.
“Promega helps to increase milk production, boost reproductive activity and enhance immunity status, resulting in healthier and more productive sheep,” said Mr Bateson.
The essential Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are considered important modulators of immune functions. Harnessing these long-chain fatty acids, UFAC-UK’s Omega-3 Supplement helps to improve ewe and lamb health, while improving ewe longevity, reducing the number of barren ewes and increasing DLWG of the lambs.
“Soon after lambing, the fatty acids enhance the immunity of the ewe and aid in the regeneration of the reproductive tissues, in readiness for rebreeding,” added Mr Bateson.
Special attention needs to be given to ewes to maintain energy and protein levels both pre- and post-lambing. UFAC-UK’s ruminant technical team can advise on ewe management, with a portfolio of sheep feeding solutions specifically designed to ensure ewes have sufficient energy, correct fatty acids and proteins in their diets.
Promega is a friable meal formulated with high quality fish oil, and sugar (glycerine), blended with vegetable protein, therefore, it can be incorporated into both compounds and on-farm mixes.