Rationing ewe lambs for better udder development

Solution name: Rationing ewe lambs for better udder development

Aim: to adapt feed intake to the different growth stages of animal tissues, especially the udder, to encourage growth of secretory tissue and ensure the future productive capacity of ewes.

Description:

Replacement ewe lambs must become efficient ruminants with properly developed productive organs in a short time. Whilst rumen and papillae development are important, udder secreting tissue growth should not be overlooked.

Ideally, ewe lambs reach 20% of their adult weight during the weaning stage. At two months of age, they should be at 33%. Young ewes should also be rationed if they previously had free access to concentrates.

At two months of age, ewe lambs eat over 800 g/d of a self-service concentrate at 16-18% of proteins rate. This quantity should be limited to 800 g/d, then reduced by including a cereal so that the total quantity of concentrates does not exceed 600 g/d. As udder tissue starts to develop at 2–3 months of age, young ewes should be rationed accordingly: if their daily weight gain is too high (DWG > 170-180 g/d), they develop adipose tissue (fat) in the udder instead of secreting tissue, which has a negative impact on future milk production levels.

In summary

  Forage Concentrates
Before 2 months Free access to good quality straw or low graminate hay Free access to: around 800 g/d
Between 2 and 3 months Free access to good quality hay (natural meadow, RG, cocksfoot…) Rationed at: 600 g/d

 

Topic: Nutrition

Production:  Dairy / Meat

Animal Category: Replacement

Issue: Knowledge of nutritional requirements in different stages of development, Weaning transition management

Level of Solution:  Practical

Country: France

 

 

 

 

 

blank
How to implement it

If the animals can be weighed, create groups based on weight (+/- 5 kg max per batch). Ration the ewe lambs progressively and introduce a cereal to reach a maximum of 600 g of concentrated feed.

Expected benefits

by ensuring a good development of secretory tissue, ewes produce more milk from udders with less fat.

Prerequisites and/or limits

Knowledge of the animal’s weight to make homogeneous batches, having a cereal available.

Information Source / Useful links

Guide pratique de l’Alimentation des brebis laitières (CNBL, 2019)