20 November 1998

Supplement option to save older ewes

OLDER ewes tupped this year because of poor cull ewe prices may be undernourished and require supplementary feeding now.

So warns Ledbury-based vet Derek Stoakes, who says that early scanning results show some older, early lambing ewes have lost condition. "They need feeding with concentrates now to save ewe and lambs."

Independent consultant Lesley Stubbings says feeding a quality concentrate to these ewes is essential. "Unfortunately, tupping these ewes in the first place was borderline economics."

However, its important to get them safely through to lambing, she says. "Energy is important to these ewes and feeding them sugar beet pulp would be adequate. Remember, they cannot use forage well because they have fewer molar teeth and must rely more on concentrates."

Older ewes also tend to carry more lambs, so they need a molasses lick as they approach lambing to boost energy intake. They also suffer from competition with younger ewes at the trough.

"Its not just early lambing flocks that need to start feeding. Producers who have old ewes tupped recently should consider concentrate feeding to avoid ewes losing too much condition."