Flock of sheep in grass field

Preparing your ewes for tupping

A key factor to maximise lambing percentages and the number of ewes holding to first service is their body condition score (BCS) at tupping time.

Lowland and hill ewes should have a BCS of 3.5 and 2.5 respectively when going to the tup, to support optimal ovulation rates and ensure pregnancy.

Traditionally, lambs are weaned eight to 10 weeks pre-tupping to allow ewes to recover and gain BCS if required.

It is estimated ewes require at least six to eight weeks of good quality grazing - >10.5 ME MJ/kg DM - to gain 1 BCS, the equivalent to 13% of bodyweight.

Ovulation rate - the number of eggs released during each cycle - can be affected in ewes with low body condition score at weaning.

If ewes are required to increase the condition score by more than one, or grazing is limited or poor quality, then further time may be required and early weaning should be considered whilst  supplementation may also play a role.

Supplementation is important to help balance energy, protein and minerals during this key time in the sheep calendar.

Energy in the diet will not only support body condition but is also important to ensure that ewe’s cycle and subsequently hold to service.

Minerals and trace elements like cobalt and selenium are also important with deficiencies resulting in lower ovulation rates, poorer ovum quality and reduced fertility.

We know in the UK grazing does not always provide sufficient trace elements such as cobalt, selenium and iodine.

Rumenco’s MAXX Energy is an extra high energy, feed and mineral bucket suitable for feeding ewes on lower quality grass, as seen later in the grazing season.

The high sugar content, with balanced protein including natural and urea protein plus energy, helps to complement grazing and forage, supporting feed digestion and animal performance.

The inclusions of minerals, vitamins and trace elements including cobalt, selenium, iodine and zinc also support ewe health and performance.

The extra energy and minerals in Rumenco’s MAXX Energy can help achieve target body condition, support ovulation rates and successful conception in the run up to the critical mating season.