Producing quality colostrum is main focus
Pregnant ewes in the last six weeks of gestation are a hard-working bunch. At this stage of the year, the housed ewe should be on ad-lib silage and supplementary minerals as her energy demands increase by the day.
Scanned ewes with twins or triplets are to the pin of their collar as the multiple fetuses in the womb need all the nutrition they can get. Protein is required for tissue and muscle formation of the unborn lambs and calcium and magnesium is swallowed up as the bones grow.
In the first half of pregnancy, we see much less mineral uptake by the lambs but from this stage of winter until the birth of the lambs, the calcium drain increases by the day.
Meanwhile, the mother must also prepare for the feeding requirements of the lamb from birth up to weaning.
The mammary gland goes through stages of blood engorgement as it fills and relaxes, and fills again in preparation for lactation.
But our focus as carers of pregnant ewes must be on production of top-quality colostrum and a lively newborn lamb.
Subtle changes in husbandry can ensure improved quality of colostrum. Ewes should be fed a mineral mix in accordance with the results of the pregnancy scan. The twin and triplet group needs more mix.