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Prevailing Dry Conditions- What Does This Mean For Your Lambing Ewe?

Ewes due to lamb in autumn and winter will often not be able to get all their feed requirements from the pasture.

In autumn the feed is usually short and dry, and lacking in energy and protein. The amount of dense, green perennial pasture required for a lambing ewe to maintain weight is:

  • 900kg DM/ha FOO (feed on offer) by day 90 of pregnancy (about 2.5cm of dense green pasture)

  • 1200kg DM/ha food at lambing for single-lambing ewes (about 4cm of dense green pasture)

  • 1800kg DM/ha for twin-lambing ewes (about 7.5 cm of dense green pasture)


The requirements increase by 80% for twin bearers and 50% for single bearers by lambing. This further increases after lambing.


The graphs below show the importance of good ewe health. (LTEM)


There are number of other health issues to be aware of during the Autumn. The most common is internal parasites. Rainfall during the Autumn triggers egg laying of parasites which will hatch and develop into larvae unless a summer control program has been implemented for prevention. Calcium (hypocalcaemia) can be an issue after the break and can occur when sheep are put under a bit of stress eg. Moving, yarding etc. Treatment with and flow pack (4in1 or straight calcium) can help and in most cases they will recover.


The importance of a quality feed supplement at this time cannot be underestimated as it is a very critical time for a lambing ewe. It is important to reach our FOO targets and have parasites under control otherwise it will severely affect the performance of our ewe. Balancing dietary requirements and parasite risk in a lambing ewe is pivotal to ensuring we convert as many foetuses to marked lambs as possible.


Western AG have highly skilled Animal Health and Nutritionist team that can help you make a supplement plan for your livestock. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or any of the Western AG animal health team for further information


Article produced by - Katrina Ridgway, Western AG Ballarat

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