Late Gestation


Two-thirds of fetal growth happens during the last four to six weeks of gestation, because of this the nutritional requirements of the ewe are critical. Due to the rapid fetal growth, the ewe's energy requirements increases (for ewe's carring singles it can be up to fifty percent more energy and ewe's carring twin requiring up to seventy-five percent more energy). You should feed at least a pound of grain per ewe per day during the last four weeks of gestation (colder regions require more). The reason you feed grain is because of the reduction in the ewe's stomach and not being able to eat enough roughage to meet her requirements. (Stomach shrinks due to the increasing growth of the fetus)

A problem with not feeding the required energy is called pregnancy toxemia, this is caused when the ewe's body starts to use fat as energy and does not have fat in reserves. Ewes should be in a body condition between 2.5 and 3.0 when they first enter late gestation and finish out at around 3.0 to 3.5 to begin in early lactation.

After lambing the ewes only need water for the first 24 hours and then start them on 4.0 to 5.0 pounds per ewe per day of legume hay (higher amounts if feeding grass/legume hay). Grain is only needed if the ewe has low milk production, are in poor body condition, are twelve to fourteen years old, or nursing triplets.