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Feeding ewes pre lambing

Ewes fed indoors on roughage require additional energy and protein in the form of concentrates during late pregnancy. The length of the concentrate feeding period and the daily concentrate requirements are influenced by: (a) roughage quality; and, (b) litter size. Trials carried out by Dr Tim Keady, Teagasc, Athenry, assessed the concentrate requirements for inlamb ewes fed silages of different types and quality. These results are summarised in Table 1. Single bearing ewes require 5kg less concentrates while ewes carrying triplets will require an additional 8kg of concentrates pre lambing.

Despite a substantial price increase it still makes good economic sense to feed adequate amounts of a high quality ration. Concentrates fed to ewes should contain high quality energy ingredients in the form of cereals and pulps. Protein is important in the last month of pregnancy and a ration containing 18-19% crude protein (Cr Pr) is recommended to meet the ewe’s protein requirement pre lambing. Soyabean meal should be the principal source of the protein in the last month of pregnancy. Purchase sheep rations on the basis of ingredient content and quality and not on price only.