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Country: Romania

Dairy or/and meat sheep: Dairy and Meat

Source of information: Knowledge and practice

Level of solution: Knowledge/Practical


Aim: To avoid metabolic diseases caused by feed imbalances and to assure flock health.


  • Pregnancy toxaemia (twin lamb disease), affects the lean or over fat ewes, carrying multiple lambs can be at risk due to inadequate levels of available energy. If the disease is diagnosed, the feeding system has to be revised and affected ewes treated with oral propylene glycol at 50–100 ml/day and 50–80 ml/day of calcium borogluconate, subcutaneous.
  • Acidosis occurs when is a marked decrease in rumen pH due to feeding high levels of concentrate in one feed or inadequate forage, or even too much finely ground cereals. This causes a decline in fibre digestion, lower feed intake and reduced performance. To avoid the desease, concentrates should never be feed more than 0.5 kg/feed, while cereals should not be over-processed.
  • Calcium deficiency (hypocalcaemia) in late pregnancy due to sharp increase in calcium requirement. To avoid this desease, calcium levels should be kept at about 0.9% in the concentrate feed in late pregnancy. Signs of the disorder are paralysis in the hindquarters and partial loss of consciousness. Treatments is made by administring 50 to 80 ml/day of calcium borogluconate injected under the skin.
  • Grass staggers (hypomagnesaemia) is caused by magnesium by ewes consuming lush heavily fertilised spring grasses. This desease can be prevented by avoiding high nitrogen and potasium fertilisers on spring grazing, by feeding hay and by provideing rocksalt and/or magnesium supplements. In the concentrates, 0.7 % magnesium should be included, or extra magnesium in the mineral feeds provided.

Expected benefits: Reduced abortion incidence caused by metabolic diseases and ewe loss.

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

  • Farmers need constantly monitor the health status of the pregnant ewes and be aware of their changing behavior. Existence of isolation and treatment pens for ewes is recommended.

Scientific publications:

Fthenakis GC et al Anim Reprod Sci. 2012 Feb;130(3-4):198-212.
Rook Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 2000 16(2) : 293-317

Tips & Tricks:

Ewe nutrition for optimum lamb birth weight

Expected impacts:

Benefit expected Increase productivity
-less abortion
-less mortality
-better feed management
Is the solution suitable for various production systems Y
If no – for which system dairy & meat
What are the asset costs <100/ewe
What are the maintenance costs <50/ewe
Any limits to its applicability No
Work Load
  Farmers Service provider/tech.-vet-others
How much time is required to prepare and implement the solution >=1week  
How many people is needed to implement the solution? 1 person (the farmer)  
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? Medicine kit with drugs for metabolic diseases  
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 training
Wider Environment
Is there any particular regulation link to the solution? NO
Does the solution need any particular structure or organisation? NO

Users’ evaluation:



Solution No/Name

24. Tackling metabolic diseases in pregnant ewes

Farmer/Service provider/technicians-vet-others


Why did you select this solution?

To reduce abortion rates

Was it easy to implement?


If not say what are the identified drawbacks?


Did you need to adapt it?


If yes, how?

The use of propylene-glycol immediately after lambing reduces pregnancy toxemia

Were you happy with the outcome of the solution?


What were the outcomes?

Lower metabolic diseases

Score the solution


Will you continue to implement it?


If not, for which reasons?




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