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Grass Not Enough Alone Post-Tupping

16 December 2014

UK - Do not scrimp by relying on grass for feeding ewes over winter, a nutritionist is warning farmers.

Grazing quality is declining and inadequate nutrition will effect first time pregnancies, lamb health and eventual birth rates and brain development.

Therefore, balanced diets are vital, according to Rumenco technical manager, David Thornton, who advises that, while extra concentrates have little impact on an early foetus, mineral licks are vital.

He adds that substandard feeding can not be made up by piling in concentrates later on.

Lick supplements are important for ensuring balanced diets

“Maintaining a body condition score of between two and three throughout the winter months is key,” says Mr Thornton.

"It’s important to ensure ewes are receiving a balanced diet that meets all their requirements.”

Mr Thornton recommends a daily intake containing between 11 and 12 MJ of metabolisable energy (ME) during the first month post-tupping.

“Though, ewe diets must contain a quality source of vitamins, minerals and trace element that can often be lacking in grazing at this time of year, as well as sufficient energy and protein levels, to ensure they don’t lose condition.”

The initial period post-tupping is when ewes are most at risk from embryo losses as the egg is not yet attached to the uterus, explains Mr Thornton.

“Stress induced, when ewes loose condition during the winter, and therefore require a quick change in their diet can impact embryo survival and placental development.

“Limiting stress to the ewe at this vulnerable stage, by ensuring they have a balanced diet is important, and can be achieved through the use of lick supplements.

“Licks will help maintain body condition, supporting grazing, and ultimately aiding reproductive success with the successful implantation of the egg, and helping with lamb health and vigour at birth,” he says.

Using a lick supplement that is fortified with vital dietary components, is a method to guarantee ewes have ready access to an adequate source of nutrition to bolster forage based diets and maintain performance post-tupping.

TheSheepSite News Desk

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