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Author Topic: Slimming down pregnant ewes  (Read 4815 times)

Lilljoho

  • Joined Mar 2013
Slimming down pregnant ewes
« on: December 30, 2013, 06:56:05 pm »
Hi

My ewes are condition scoring 3-4. I am worried that this is too fat to lamb.

Good knows how their fat as there field is pretty bare. I have however allowed them access to haylage and they have a high energy lick. The girls are about 12weeks off lambing.

Do I need to slim them down and if so how without compromising the lambs growth?

The vet is coming on thursday to scan and I will quiz him but would like to know what you all thought. My worry is twin lamb disease later on.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Slimming down pregnant ewes
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 07:30:48 pm »
well they won't need a high-energy lick I would have thought...

any that scan for singles will probably do fine with just haylage in the last six weeks (what breed are they and are any first-timers/ewe lambs).

I would take advice from the vet for any twins though.

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Slimming down pregnant ewes
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2013, 06:22:20 pm »
I would say that CS 3 is pretty much too fat for any sheep. I'd take the bucket away - its not too late, most of the lambs growth is in the last trimester.

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: Slimming down pregnant ewes
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2014, 10:08:06 am »
So is the issue that the lambs will get over sized? Or is it because a fat ewe is more likely to struggle delivering on her own as she has extra fat on her organs?

Sorry to jump onto your thread!

I have one ewe who just looks at food and puts weight on. Shes only on hay and that is all. What do you lot suggest I do as she is the only fat one!

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Slimming down pregnant ewes
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2014, 10:26:37 am »
So is the issue that the lambs will get over sized? Or is it because a fat ewe is more likely to struggle delivering on her own as she has extra fat on her organs?

Sorry to jump onto your thread!

I have one ewe who just looks at food and puts weight on. Shes only on hay and that is all. What do you lot suggest I do as she is the only fat one!

Fat ewes will have more problems at lambing inc. twin lamb disease/prolapse
Over feeding can also lead to large lambs

I would rather have a ewe a bit thin than a bit fat at lambing, once they have lambed and start getting that spring flush of grass they will quickly recover  any condition

Have you scanned them? She may be barren---in which case= bang!

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Slimming down pregnant ewes
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2014, 11:11:21 am »
What breed?  I've had a Down ewe at CS 4.5 lamb twins with no problem at all (and yes, I did try to slim her down!).  I've also had Lleyns in perfect condition prolapse to the point where they needed emergency Caesarians.   If she's carrying triplets or more she'll mobilise her fat store during the last few weeks of pregnancy, if you don't give her any additional feed (although I'd still recommend a mineral lick to keep up her selenium levels, etc. to ensure a good milk supply).  There's still plenty of grass around here but it seems to be about 99% water so of dubious quality! 

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Slimming down pregnant ewes
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2014, 12:21:37 pm »
How old are the ewes? Young ewes are less likely to have toxaemia than older gals. I'd be wary of making dramatic changes in the last 4 weeks as you'll most likely give them toxaemia if you do. Toxaemia is when the ewe can't access her stored energy reserves and develops hypoglycemia. Being fat brings a risk of vaginal prolapse.
Perhaps it would be helpful to get your vet to confirm your condition score conclusions before making any dramatic dietary changes.
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Lilljoho

  • Joined Mar 2013
Re: Slimming down pregnant ewes
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2014, 01:47:35 pm »
Hi everyone thanks for the replies.

The girls are southdowns and the oldest would be 4 and its is a couple of these that are the fattest the shearlings aren't so bad.

The vet is coming tomorrow anyway to scan so will quiz him on what to do.

I wondered if they would be ok on just a mineral lick and their haylage, but had heard that using their fat reserves would have the risk of toxaemia but obviously worried about giving them hard feed later on if still carrying extra condition.

Once vet has been I will update you on his advice :-)

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: Slimming down pregnant ewes
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2014, 07:43:44 pm »
So is the issue that the lambs will get over sized? Or is it because a fat ewe is more likely to struggle delivering on her own as she has extra fat on her organs?

Sorry to jump onto your thread!

I have one ewe who just looks at food and puts weight on. Shes only on hay and that is all. What do you lot suggest I do as she is the only fat one!

Fat ewes will have more problems at lambing inc. twin lamb disease/prolapse
Over feeding can also lead to large lambs

I would rather have a ewe a bit thin than a bit fat at lambing, once they have lambed and start getting that spring flush of grass they will quickly recover  any condition

Have you scanned them? She may be barren---in which case= bang!

No we are scanning in a few weeks so I would cull if she was barren! Is hay going to be little enough or shall she be on restricted hay?

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Slimming down pregnant ewes
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2014, 08:21:47 pm »


No we are scanning in a few weeks so I would cull if she was barren! Is hay going to be little enough or shall she be on restricted hay?
[/quote]
Don't know---it will depend on many things including  the hay quality/size of ewe/when they are due/how many lambs they are carrying/weather to mention a few
I would give them ad lib hay but make them work for it. Put it in a rack so they have to pull at it to eat rather than just leave it on the floor. If they are outside on pasture it's likely they are still getting some grass (it is growing slowly in places)


Lilljoho

  • Joined Mar 2013
Re: Slimming down pregnant ewes
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2014, 04:10:22 pm »
Panic over, thank god!

Vet said I was a little generous on my condition scoring and they were probably more of a 2.5-3 so I wasn't to worry too much.

Also all are in lamb so to feed a little as usual but with constant scoring to check their utilising feed not putting weight on.

very exciting times a head!
 

 

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