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Supplement for an easier lambing

Ensuring dietary intakes match ewe nutritional requirements is a priority in the final trimester to ensure every chance of a successful lambing.

Ross Sibbald, Rumenco area business manager explains that 70 to 80% of foetal growth occurs within the final six weeks of pregnancy. “Providing extra nutrition at this time when the ewe needs it most will ensure the rapid growing foetuses don’t draw too much on the ewes reserves,” he says.

Energy is the key dietary component at lambing time that helps maintain condition and support the ewes metabolic processes. But, as Mr Sibbald explains, adequate amounts of energy may not be available in concentrates or forage alone.

“I’d therefore recommend supplementing ewes with a high-energy bucket specifically fortified with vitamins and minerals, such Lifeline Lamb and Ewe which provides 13 MJ of ME per kg DM. This ensures ewes receive a balanced diet which will help maintain condition during this crucial time,” adds Mr Sibbald.

For one farmer in North Yorkshire, introducing Lifeline Lamb and Ewe six weeks prior to lambing has significantly benefited ewes at lambing.

Mrs Stokeld runs the largest flock of Border Leicester’s in England at her farm in Great Ayton, with 100 breeding ewes. “The business means that I’m breeding ewes for local and export markets, and rams for the top tup sales such as Kelso and Welshpool,” says Mrs Stokeld.

“Having ewes in the best condition prior to lambing is therefore crucial to ensure we can continue to bring new, quality genetics into the industry.”

Mrs Stokeld introduced Lifeline Lamb and Ewe into her feeding programme in the run-up to lambing for the first time last year.

“Although I was aware that we could half the concentrate feed available to ewes when using Lifeline Lamb and Ewe, I did feed nuts in the last eight weeks last year as the Border Leicester is a bigger breed and I was conscious of meeting nutritional demands.

“Ewes were in the right condition when I started lambing, but were probably in too good a condition towards the end of lambing, but it really proved that the buckets were doing their job,” says Mrs Stokeld.

“I noticed that ewes were quick to lamb, and there were very few incidences where I had to intervene. Generally they lambed very easily. 

“There were more triplets than usual, but the ewes were able to rear all three with little problem because the quality of the colostrum in the first instance was good, and they had the milk available going forwards,” adds Mrs Stokeld. 

Lifeline Lamb and Ewe is also formulated to include 12% natural protein. Mr Sibbald explains that the protein available will ensure the ewe can produce a quality source of colostrum, accessible to the lamb as soon as it’s born. 

Research carried out on 200 late lambing lowland crossbred ewes at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has proven that supplementing ewes with Lifeline Lamb and Ewe increased the level of immunoglobulin G (IgG) in the colostrum by 25%, compared to ewes supplemented with a standard high-energy bucket lick. 

Mr Sibbald explains that IgG is the immune protein that is responsible for the passive immunity passed onto lambs. “Colostrum that supplies lambs with a higher available intake of IgG will ultimately benefit lamb health and vigour, and reduce the time spent dealing with unthrifty lambs. 

“The encouraging results of the trial and positive on-farm anecdotal evidence from farmers using the supplement are a result of the whole nutritional package that Lifeline Lamb and Ewe provides.”