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Author Topic: Feeding for out wintered, single bearing ewes!  (Read 881 times)


  • Joined Jan 2022
Feeding for out wintered, single bearing ewes!
« on: January 31, 2022, 01:06:16 pm »
I'm 3 - 4 weeks out from lambing.

All sheep are out wintered. Twins are on lower land around home receiving 250g per head per day atm.

I've moved the singles to a fenced in area of hill ground that hasn't been touched since Oct. / Nov. and are receiving no nuts but do have access to lick buckets ( atm it is a topflock pre lambing bucket) and before that they were on a the, green lid top flock bucket which I understand was more of a mineral fill)

The farm is stocked at roughly 1 ewe : 2 acres.

All sheep bar a handful (3 - 4 ) are BCS 3 + .

My question is, should these single bearing ewes that are roughly 4 weeks out from lambing be receiving any nuts yet along with the lick bucket ?  Does anyone here get away without feeding or possibly feed closer to the time and for a couple of weeks after to keep milk production high.



  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Feeding for out wintered, single bearing ewes!
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2022, 10:32:18 am »
Sorry we have been a while spotting your post.  For some reason it only hit my "new unread posts" list today.

You don't mention the breed of your ewes, which can have a big impact on how best to feed, or not.

In general, I would not ever feed a single-bearer unless she is really thin.  Lick bucket for sugar and minerals yes, concentrates no.  You don't want the single lamb so huge she struggles to get it out.  I would be feeding hay at this time of year, though, to appetite, even if there is a lot of grass under their feet. 

Feeding twin-bearers with a condition score 3+ ... I probably wouldn't give more than the half a pound you are giving, along with the pre-lamber bucket and ad lib hay.  But some combinations of ewe breed and tup breed might change that answer... for instance, a Mule ewe to a tup which produces big lambs at birth (eg Texel) might need a bit more concentrate in the last month as she simply doesn't have space for the amount of forage she would need to derive the nutrition she needs.  And split the concentrate into 2 feeds.  But lambs from a Cheviot tup wouldn't be so large at birth, so she can make better use of hay or haylage.  And you need to be cautious feeding a Texel or a Beltex ewe or you can end up with the combination of narrow birth canal (possibly narrowed even further by internal fat with those condition scores) and over-large lambs resulting in hard lambings and even caesarians.
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


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Feeding for out wintered, single bearing ewes!
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2022, 05:37:01 pm »
I think Id just stick with the pre lambing buckets if they are just going to rear the 1 lamb, but if you want to foster another lamb onto them so they rear twins, maybe a token 150-200g just to help colostrum and milk production?


  • Joined Jan 2022
Re: Feeding for out wintered, single bearing ewes!
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2022, 06:43:02 pm »
Thanks, appreciate the replies   :)

90 % of the flock are cheviot/ horn cross so a hardy bunch ! The younger sheep are very fit this year, its the older ones which are a slight concern but still none the less in decent shape for their age. I've just taken over the farm so looking to really optimize the system as in the past its been set stocking and very minimum input.

I had bought in a fair amount of hay for the kunekunes that are housed atm so this week I decided to ad lib all sheep on hay feeders. I'll keep the ewe lambs (dry) and singles on hay and buckets until grass cover increases in the lowland fields and Ill keep the twins on hay, buckets and a bit of conc. maybe 300 grams for now and see how they perform. 


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Feeding for out wintered, single bearing ewes!
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2022, 01:44:27 pm »
While I don't feed my ewes much pre-lambing (they are Shetlands), I do feed after lambing for at least 4 weeks, sometimes a bit longer depending on grass coming through. I only lamb (outside) from mid-April onwards and often the grass is not yet through at all (Scot Borders). I find it just steadies the ewes and prevents milk fever/hypocalceamia. It also means the lambs get used to feeding and you can check both ewes and lambs over quickly.


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