Pregnant ewes need careful management to ensure that they lamb down in the right condition for optimum lamb weight and survival – and that ewes have sufficient condition to recover quickly before the next joining. Ideally, ewes should be scanned 45 days after joining and separated into groups of single, twin and triplet-bearing ewes. It is important to determine mob size according to fecundity to reduce the opportunity for mis-mothering. Give preference to high fecundity mobs when assessing paddocks for pasture quality and shelter.
The nutrient demands of foetal development depletes the ewe’s reserves of essential minerals required by the immune system to defend against disease and parasites. The combined effects of a suppressed immune system and the physiological stresses of pregnancy means ewes are particularly susceptible to worm burdens and clostridial diseases. Higher worm egg output increases pasture contamination and the risk posed to highly vulnerable lambs.
A comprehensive animal health program administered four weeks before lambing can help to safeguard the health of ewes by: