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Navigating Ewe Pregnancy and Winter Feeding

Preparing for the Cold Season Ahead

Winter Feeding in Victoria and South West Australia Sheep in Snow AI generated Image

As winter approaches in Victoria and South East South Australia, sheep farmers face critical decisions regarding ewe nutrition and management. Let's delve into key aspects to watch out for.

1. Ewe Pregnancy Nutrition

Early Pregnancy:

  • During early pregnancy, foetal growth is minimal, allowing ewes to be maintained on a diet

  • Similar to dry sheep.

  • Aim for a minimum condition score of two (ideally three) for ewes. Twin-bearing ewes

  • Should have a condition score 0.5 higher than singles.

  • Avoid overfeeding during this period to prevent rapid lamb growth and birth difficulties.

Late Pregnancy:

  • In the final six weeks of pregnancy, significant lamb growth occurs. The entire conceptus

  • Weight increases by approximately 10kg.

  • Ewes require a diet comprising at least 8% crude protein. Grain supplementation can help

  • Meet their nutritional needs.

  • - Skeletal material in developing foetuses draws heavily on the ewe's Calcium stores.

  • Adequate Calcium intake is crucial.

2. Winter Feeding Strategies

Hay and Grain:

  • Recent rains may lead to pasture growth, but many farmers will still need to supplement

  • Feed during winter.

  • Increase feed by 20% in cold conditions.

  • To boost energy intake, provide good-quality hay in paddocks during wet and cold weather.

Mismothering Prevention:

  • Handfeeding lambing ewes reduces mismothering. Feed ewes daily and in the afternoon to

  • Maintain consistent nutrition.

  • Adjust mob size and stocking rate to minimise mismothering risks.

Don't miss the Agriculture Victoria 2024 BestWool/BestLamb Conference and Dinner:

  • Date: Wednesday, 19 June 2024

  • Location: Goods Shed, Ballarat (200 Lydiard Street North, Soldiers Hill)

  • Register Now to gain insights and network with industry experts!

  • More Info: Click photo below to visit official event page

BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef Conference 2024
Upcoming Conference Alert: BetterWool, BetterLamb, BetterBeef highlights


Source: Conversation with Copilot, 17/06/2024


Remember, as sheep farmers, our decisions today shape the future of our flocks. Let's prioritise ewe health, nutrition, and sustainable practices.

Stay warm, stay informed, and shepherd wisely!

*Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ProBreed or the conference organisers.

ProBreed Jamie Ramage Inverleigh Victoria

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