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Country: Romania

Dairy or/and meat sheep: Dairy and Meat

Source of information: Industry and research

Level of solution: Knowledge/Practical

Aim: To help ewe nutrition monitoring and evaluation during pregnancy


  • When ewes are kept post-breeding on pastures, they should have high quality, with a structure of 40% legumes and 60% grasses, and a height of the plants of 8-12 cm, allowing a feed intake of 5 to 7 kg/day.
  • Changes in feeding regime should be made gradually, during a period of 6 to 8 days.
  • Weight of the lamb(s) is developing primarily (>70%) during the last two months of gestation.
  • Ewes should gain 8-14 kg during pregnancy, most of that weight gain being in the placenta and fetus, and lose only 5% of true live-weight in the six weeks following lambing.
  • Adult ewes can be fed during indoor housing, diets consisting of hay (1.5-3 kg), silages (1.5-2 kg) and concentrates (0.1-0.5 kg), depending on the animal’s body condition.
  • Ewes in their last weeks before lambing (3-4 weeks) reduce their voluntary intake with up to 25-30%, due to the fetus growth.

Expected benefits: Targeting ewe nutrition and monitoring the BCS could lead to a decrease of the embryonic losses and a proper development of the lamb(s).

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

  • Farmers need to be able to manage the animals according to the body condition score and periodically monitor the weight gain. Ewes should be managed in groups of 40 to 60 ewes, based on their age, gestation type and weight.

Scientific publications:

Holst PJ Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 37(6) 647 – 655
Rook Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 2000 16(2) : 293-317
Munoz et al Animal. 2008 Jan;2(1):52-63.

Tips & Tricks:

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? Concentrate feeders, fences for grazing management, seeds for pastures  
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

 22. Nutrition management in gestation ewes

Farmer/Service provider/technicians-vet-others


Why did you select this solution?

Reduces abortion incidence

Better survival in lambs and more vigorous offspring

Was it easy to implement?


If not say what are the identified drawbacks?


Did you need to adapt it?


If yes, how?


Were you happy with the outcome of the solution?


What were the outcomes?

Better gestation rates

Score the solution

Interesting and easy to implement

Will you continue to implement it?


If not, for which reasons?



The legumes proportion in the pastures should not exceed 25%

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