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Feeding ewes in late pregnancy

In late pregnancy rations may be based on straw, average or good quality hay or silage. Hay and silage can be very variable in their nutrient content and so it is essential to have forages analysed so that rations can be formulated and the amount and type of supplement required can be determined.

Daily forage dry matter intake (percentage of liveweight) is shown in the table below.

For example, a 75 kg ewe just before lambing needs 19 MJ ME/day.


The table above shows that if you are feeding average quality hay she is able to eat 1.5% of her liveweight.

1.5% of her bodyweight = 1.13kg.

To calculate how many MJ of energy this will supply multiply by the ME of the feed

e.g 1.13 x 8.5= 9.6 MJ

If she needs 19 MJ ME/day then to calculate how much concentrates to feed subtract the amount supplied by the forage from her total daily requirement;

19 – 9.6 = 9.4

A good quality concentrate has an energy content of approx 12.5MJ/kg of dry matter and the dry matter is 86%.

Therefore each ewe needs:

9.4 x 100 = 0.9kg/day
12.5  86 


More information can be found in the HCC booklet ‘Feeding the ewe for lifetime performance


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