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Author Topic: Feeding fat in-lamb ewes  (Read 3218 times)

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Feeding fat in-lamb ewes
« on: December 09, 2013, 03:27:58 pm »
I'm just doing my calculations to work out how much compound feed I need to buy in for feeding my ewes pre-lambing (march lambing).  I usually feed 250g per head starting 8 weeks prior to lambing.  Once they've lambed that goes up to 500g per head.  My trouble this year is that I have two "fatties" that I have failed to get to shed some weight during this year - they were a bit podgy last lambing and both had lambs with a leg back which I think was due to them carrying too much fat.  This year they are probably even heavier than last, about 8kg heavier than my others (heavier, not bigger in frame).  So my plan was not to feed them pre-lambing, or not feed them until like a week or so before.
Does anyone have any suggestions?  Could I get away with no additional feed until they lamb?  They will have hay ad-lib all winter.
(These are BWMs, who all usually twin, lambing outside, and my aim is to not have to assist any ewes at lambing time.)
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 03:53:09 pm by foobar »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Feeding fat in-lamb ewes
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 03:59:56 pm »
Do you scan?  I'd hesitate to give nothing to twin-bearers...

As I understand it, the key requirement is for sugars in the final 6 weeks, so if they're fatties you could give them a treacle or molasses lick in the last 6 weeks and not cake.  But the other thing about fatties is physically having the room internally to accommodate enough forage alongside near-term lambs in order to be able to meet their metabolic requirements.  (Hence why twin lamb disease does not only strike thin ewes, in fact some say it's more likely in fat ones.)

Almost might be better to keep them on slim pickings and give a precise light cake ration with a precise ration of good quality forage?   I don't know, but I'd be interested to know what you decide and how you get on.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Feeding fat in-lamb ewes
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 04:09:27 pm »
No, I don't scan - I can't justify the cost as I only have a dozen.
And yes, twin lamb was my worry if I don't feed them anything.  :-\


These two I bought in as shearlings from a hill farm a few years ago.  I'm on lowland, so I'm guessing their genes are set up to cope with less food on the higher ground, whereas my homebred ones are better adapted for the grass quantity I have here, any they have a very slightly bigger frame.  I deliberately lamb my ewe-lambs to prevent them getting too big or fat.  I've found it easy to get weight onto a sheep but flippin hard to get it off again :(.

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Feeding fat in-lamb ewes
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 05:02:13 pm »
Btw, the cake I use is MVF Premier Ewe, which is an 18% ration, which has ~17% sugar beet content - so is a high sugar ration.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Feeding fat in-lamb ewes
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 06:27:03 pm »
Sounds like an ok plan to me , so long as you keep condition scoring

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Feeding fat in-lamb ewes
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 07:08:37 pm »
The only other thing is that you can of course keep them on slim pickings for another month or so, right up until about 6 weeks before lambing.  Then make sure they have enough, but not an excess.  If you can  :-\
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Feeding fat in-lamb ewes
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 08:04:31 pm »
I have, for a couple of years, fed my pregnant lowland ewes on best quality hay, high energy+protein rumevite feed block, (available at all times) and a rumevite Lifeline (for sheep) bucket. This bucket is meant to help against twin lamb disease in sheep and is very effective. I only give them concentrates (about half a pound a day)in the last 2 weeks. Since I changed to this system, from the traditional feeding concentrates for the last 8 weeks, I have only had  to help out one lamb and that was enormous - about 20lbs. All my other ewes have lambed unaided, had plenty of milk, and 2 raised triplets with no problem.
So, what I'm saying is foobar, that I think your fatties will be ok without additional concentrate feeding. But as Sally says, they will need a source of additional energy in the last month especially. You can supply this by giving them a high energy feed block and/or bucket which they can help themseves to as they need it.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

ScotsGirl

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: Feeding fat in-lamb ewes
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 08:10:02 pm »
My blacks are also huge. They seem to live on fresh air and our ground is too good I think.  I didn't feed last year and don't plan in giving more than a handful each. They have mineral licks and hay now.


Foobar, the two ewes I bought from you look great and nice and friendly now. Hopefully in lamb to my ram I bred last year.

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Feeding fat in-lamb ewes
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 09:15:10 pm »
Feed will depend a bit on when you will lamb them too ---I mostly lamb in mid April and never feed anything but grass, not even to triplets
They can be fairly thin and on poor /dead/little grass right up until the due date then I put them onto the lambing fields which should in principle have a bit of fresh growth

So I would skin any fatties I have right down by stocking them tightly on v. little grass from xmas onwards----never had much problem with twin lamb, last case I remember was 3 years ago. An ancient ewe with quads that went lame over winter and lost weight

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Feeding fat in-lamb ewes
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2013, 09:58:17 am »
Brill, thank you all for your comments.


Scotsgirl - I'm glad to hear that those two have settled in to their new home successfully :D.

 

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