Energy Key to Lambing Success

Ewes bearing multiple lambs are the champions of your flock and should be treated as such. The requirements for energy, protein, major minerals, vitamins and trace elements pre- and post-lambing far outweigh their single carrying sisters.

To further complicate this demand for nutrients is the compromised size of the rumen due to the growing foetuses significantly limiting feed consumption.

Energy is the key limiting factor and a failure to meet the ever-heightening requirements, pre- and post-lambing, often leads to pregnancy toxaemia (Twin Lamb Disease) and consequently ewe and lamb mortality.

According to the ‘Lifetime Ewe Management’ program, a single ewe (60Kgs, BCS 3) at birth requires approximately 13MJ of metabolisable energy (ME) per day, while a twin-bearing ewe requires 15.5MJ ME/day. This demand for energy increases to 21MJ ME/day for singles and doubles to 27MJ ME/day for twins four weeks postpartum when lactation is in full swing.

The use of a complete pre and post-lambing supplement not only helps alleviate the mineral, trace element and vitamin needs but also facilitates improved utilisation of energy in feed. The results from an independent trial undertaken by Anthony Shepherd, SheepMatters in 2016, found that ewes supplemented with additional minerals, vitamins and trace elements vastly improved key lambing parameters.

The trial compared common Causmag®, lime and salt (CLS) mix with AusFarm Nutrition Products’ StockMins-EweLamLac HE. The results showed a profitable advantage with a 3.32% decrease in lamb losses and a 25% increase in average weaning weights. The ewes also benefited retaining over 50% greater body weight compared to ewes prescribed the CLS supplement. These figures approximately calculated to an additional $13 per lamb based on a $6/kg carcass weight value at the time.

The value of mineral, trace element and vitamin supplementation is often overlooked due to its small contributions to the total diet, however, the impact on energy availability and improved performance of ewes and lambs cannot be denied.