What're the (particularly hill) sheep farmers thoughts on this:
Currently I have my Blackface ewes on 1lbs of 18% ewe & lamb ration per head per day. They have very rough grazing available and that's it for forage.
As they lamb I'll be moving them down into saved grass. Other years I have continued on feeding them after they have gone into the grass.
Basically, am I pissing money away needlessly in this situation?
Options I see are:
Keep feeding 1lbs per head
Reduce weight per head
cut out feeding and have them make do on grass
Your thoughts please
I haven't got hill sheep so my answer may not be relevant.
We kept 100 ewes up to 2 years ago - now down to 20 (The off farm job works better with sucklers).
Would have fed a similar ration to what you're feeding up to a month before they lambed. For the final month they would have been getting at least 1lb of rolled oats. Twice weekly we would take the ewes with lambs away from the main flock and put them onto fairly good grass. We would continue to feed these ewes (with lambs) with ration until at least the end of April when the grass starts to grow around here. We would tend to give them more per head than before they had the lambs because I always found that when the lambs are suckling is when they need the extra feed most. The condition would melt off the ewes sucking lambs if they didn't get the extra feed.
In short, I don't think that you're wasting money by feeding ration to ewes when they lamb. The don't put the feed on their back, they put it into their milk from which the lambs get full benefit.
Just my twopence worth.
lowland here.. feck all grass at the minute.. that's the way i work it out:
pre-lambing: singles= silage and no concentrates, doubles silage and 1 pound or a bit more of 18% for 5 weeks. Triplets: silage and 2 pound nuts for 7 weeks before lambing.
post lambing= singles 1 pound of concentrates, doubles close to 2 pound each, triplets adopted (with luck!)
Obviously if i had more grass would feed less but never seems to be the way in early march.
tried years ago to not feed twins that much but ended up with skinny ewes and smaller lambs.
anyways that's what works for me. hope helps.