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Country: Spain

Dairy or/and meat sheep: Dairy and meat

Source of information: Bibliography; Technical Services

Level of solution:






Just Being Tested


Aim: Achieve a suitable body condition of sheep at mating to increase the fertility rate.


  • What is implemented;
    The BCS of every sheep must be assessed before the start of the mating season; BCS should be ≥2.5 and/or gaining weight at mating. Therefore, sheep with BCS below 2.5 should receive supplementary feeding before matings (flushing).
  • How is implemented;
    Sheep below 2.5 will be supplemented with 250-400 g. of concentrate daily (cereal grain); for the rest of the sheep, keep balanced feeding and avoid changes after the critical time of implantation of the embryos is over.
  • When is it implemented.
    At least 1 month before the expected mating period, and after the critical time of implantation of the embryos is over (19 days after the mating, approximately)

Expected benefits:

10-20% higher fertility rates and prolificacy, and a more concentrated lambing season

Prerequisites and/or limits (knowledge, training, capabilities, cost, management, facilities, equipment, etc.)

  • Education and regular practice or training of farmers regarding BCS assessment;
  • Facilities:
  • Sheep need to be managed individually to be assessed;
  • Allotments.
  • Additional feeding costs for purchased concentrates or on-farm high quality feedstuff resources available (pastures, crops, etc.).

Specific references:

Borowczyk, E., Caton, J. S., Redmer, D. A., Bilski, J. J., Weigl, R. M., Vonnahme, K. A., … Grazul-Bilska, A. T. (2006). Effects of plane of nutrition on in vitro fertilization and early embryonic development in sheep. Journal of Animal Science, 84(6), 1593–1599. [pii]

Lassoued, N., Rekik, M., & Ben Salem, H. (2009). Influence of supplementary feeding and the ram effect on conception rate of Barbarine ewes during spring mating. Options Méditerranéennes. Séries A, (85), 405–409. Retrieved from

Molina, A., Gallego, L., Torres, A., & Vergara, H. (1994). Effect of mating season and level of body reserves on fertility and prolificacy of Manchega ewes. Small Ruminant Research, 14(3), 209–217.

Pitta, D. W., Barry, T. N., Lopez-Villalobos, N., & Kemp, P. D. (2005). Effects on ewe reproduction of grazing willow fodder blocks during drought. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 120(3–4), 217–234.


Tips & Tricks

Body condition score

Smartphone recording tool

Using yokes for BCS grouping

Calibrating buckets

Tasting lupin seeds

BCS grid for dairy sheep

Sentinel breeds to monitor BCS

Use of technology for productivity

Expected impacts


Benefit expected Increase productivity
better feed management
Is the solution suitable for various production systems Y
If no – for which system The thresholds  depend on the aptitude of the breed
What are the asset costs <100
What are the maintenance costs ?
Any limits to its applicability  
Work Load
  Farmers Service provider/tech.-vet-others
How much time is required to prepare and implement the solution < 1 day  
How many people is needed to implement the solution? 1  
How long it takes to get results? >=1week
How long it takes to see  an effect on sheep productivity? current production period
  Farmers Service provider/technicians-vet-others
What kind of equipment/tool are necessary?  chart,  leaflet, handling pens  chart, leaflet
Skill/Knowledge-Training (farmer)
Does the solution need any specific skill/knowledge or training? Yes
How much time will be required for training 1 day
Wider Environment
Is there any particular regulation link to the solution? no
Does the solution need any particular structure or organisation? no

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