Ewe Nutrition For Mid-Pregnancy Feeding

Nutrition in mid-pregnancy should be sufficient to optimise placental growth. Foetuses undergo very little growth in mid-pregnancy but growth of the placenta continues and is completed by the end of the third month of gestation. The placenta provides all the nutrients for the unborn lambs in late pregnancy and poor placental development will result in low birth weight lambs with poor viability – irrespective of late-pregnancy feeding.

Mid-pregnancy feeding should aim to maintain ewe condition as far as possible. Loss of body condition in mid-pregnancy will only reduce body reserves available for milk production in early lactation. So why penalise lamb growth rates by underfeeding in mid-pregnancy? Trial work undertaken at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne showed that ewes with access to Crystalyx Extra High Energy in mid-pregnancy maintained a better condition score than ewes on grass alone.

Research work by SAC showed that a sub-clinical deficiency of cobalt in the first half of pregnancy resulted in lambs which were slower to stand and suckle and much more susceptible to neonatal diseases. All these symptoms occurred irrespective of late pregnancy feeding.

Crystalyx Extra High Energy provides a very palatable and available source of minerals, trace elements and vitamins for ewes throughout pregnancy – and especially in mid-pregnancy before the introduction of other supplementary feeds. Only 25g of Crystalyx Extra High Energy provides the same intake of trace elements as ½ lb of compound feed.

Access to dry hay in mid-pregnancy is always beneficial.  Ewes regulate intakes of Crystalyx according to requirement – intakes increase in very wet weather and snow cover. But Crystalyx never replaces forage – it complements and balances it.

The time of introduction of supplementary feeds in late pregnancy is dictated by forage quality and lamb burden. The greater the expected lambing % and/or the poorer the quality of available forage, the earlier supplementary feeds should be introduced. But feeding Crystalyx can delay the need to introduce supplementary feeds by helping the rumen bugs work a little bit harder to digest forages more efficiently.

Crystalyx can stimulate forage intakes (by up to 15%) increase the rate of forage digestion (by up to 10%) and improve overall diet digestibility. All this means your stock make the best possible use of your home-grown forages.

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