Ewes and Lambs demand nutrition

Mineral supply has, once again, become a focal point of ewe and lamb nutrition. The demand for major minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and sulphur increases markedly in pregnant sheep as they approach lambing. This demand further increases with multiples.

The role of minerals and trace elements at this time is 2-fold. Firstly, there is a high requirement of minerals for foetal bone development. In addition, these elements are the principle mineral components of milk. Although the body of the ewe can store and release significant quantities of minerals into the system, these reserves are depleted with demand and time. Mature and native pastures are capable of supplying the majority of mineral needs when demand is moderate (singles). However, as modern ewes tend to conceive more lambs and produce more milk, the capability of pastures to meet requirements becomes compromised. This is exacerbated when grazing rapidly growing improved pastures and crops with low mineralization and high potassium levels.

A vitamin, mineral trace element supplement can bridge the gap between demand and supply. But beware, not all supplements are what they appear to be.
For efficient utilization by livestock, minerals must be in the available form. For example, although magnesium oxide (CausmagĀ®) contains a high level of magnesium, it is only sparingly soluble and accordingly, bypasses the major sites of absorption in the rumen and omasum. It is similar for other minerals.
Vitamins and trace elements such as vitamin E, zinc and selenium are also necessary at levels higher than RDI to optimise ewe and lamb performance.

AusFarm Nutrition Products is a leader in the technology of animal nutrition and constructs its products accordingly.

By Dr Paul Meggison
General Manager and Nutritionist
AusFarm Nutrition Products