Late Gestation Management Considerations

Dr. Andrew Weaver, North Carolina State University, Small Ruminant Specialist

Ewes are bred, the holidays are just around the corner, and for all of us with winter lambing flocks, lambing season is almost here. Over the last year, we have invested in high quality genetics to move our flocks forward and now it’s important that we make sure our next generation of lambs get off to the right start. This begins with good late gestation management.

I have summarized nutritional requirements in Table 1 (think of this as nutrient demand by the animal). Requirements for energy (as indicated by total digestible nutrients) and protein increase substantially for late gestation and lactation compared to maintenance. Two-thirds of fetal development take place during late gestation. Additionally, ewes should be gaining body condition to prepare for lactation with a goal of BCS 3.5-4 at the time of lambing. Therefore, nutrients demands are high.

Table 1. Nutrient Requirements (Demand) at Different Stages of Production
150 lb. ewe raising twins Dry Matter Intake (lb./d) Total Digestible Nutrients (lb./d) Crude Protein (lb./d)
Maintenance 2.6 1.4 0.2
Late Gestation 4.0 2.7 0.4
Lactation 4.4 2.9 0.7

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Clean Up the Cost of Wasted Hay

Amber Friedrichsen, Hay and Forage Grower 2021 and 2022 editorial intern
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: December 27, 2022)

Feeding livestock hay in the winter may be an inevitable expense to an operation, but paying for wasted hay doesn’t have to be. Choosing an appropriate feeding practice and adhering to a strict feeding schedule can help keep hay waste to a minimum this season.

Charlie Ellis with the University of Missouri Extension says feeding practices will vary with climate, labor availability, and ultimately, producer preference. Therefore, the field specialist in agricultural engineering shares some advantages and disadvantages of the following strategies.

Cone and ring feeders
According to Ellis, cone feeders are the most efficient at minimizing hay waste. Sheeted ring feeders allow more waste than cone feeders, and open ring feeder are the least efficient design of the three. Nonetheless, placing any type of feeder on an elevated surface in a well-drained area will reduce hay waste in general.

In addition

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